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Warmer weather sparks more intense storms

AFP

US and British researchers have confirmed the link between warmer climate and an increase in powerful rainstorms, according to a study.

Storm over Sydney

Storm over Sydney

Credit: Kate Holdsworth

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Washington: US and British researchers have confirmed the link between warmer climate and an increase in powerful rainstorms, according to a recent study that underscores one of the challenges of global warming.

The researchers even found that the increase of extreme rainfall was higher than what has been predicted in current computer models, according to the research published in the journal Science.

The scientists pointed out that one of the biggest concerns regarding climate change is that heavy rainstorms will become more common and intense in a warmer climate due to the higher moisture available for condensation.

The more powerful rains also increase the risk of flooding that could have substantial impacts on societies and economies, they said.

To understand the link between rain and warmer climate, the researchers used naturally-driven changes associated with the El Nino weather system as a laboratory for testing their hypotheses.

El Nino is an occasional seasonal warming of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean that upsets normal weather patterns from the western seaboard of Latin America to East Africa, and potentially has a global impact on climate.

Studying satellite observations from the past 20 years, the experts found that heavy rain events increased during warm periods and decreased during cold times.