In the middle of a heat wave it’s easy to yearn for rain, and at least one researcher says the rain will come — lots of it.
UC Riverside climate researcher Robert Allen says California should get ready for more rain.
Unlike other recent work in the field, Allen has just published a study that says rainfall in the state will increase in the coming years if the planet continues to warm at its current pace.
Allen, 42, is a professor of earth sciences and has been studying climate issues for two decades. His study projects that by 2100, precipitation in California will rise 12 percent.
Southern California rainfall won’t change much. In fact, the models predict it will drop slightly, but the increases in the rest of the state may be more than 15 percent higher than current averages. In the winter months, those percentages go up nearly 40 percent.
So, does that mean residents of the state can forget about conserving water and go ahead and dig the hole for that new swimming pool? Not exactly.
Allen says the past few years, where a severe drought was followed by near-record rain and snow, is likely the type of climate swing we can expect as we head through the century.
“The average (rainfall) is the average,” Allen said, “but the standard deviation is quite high. The standard deviation will increase.
“My study shows an increase in mean precipitation,” he added, “but you could also see an increase in drought. When it does rain, it rains a lot.”
The study appears online in the journal Nature Communications. Allen worked with graduate student Rainer Luptowitz on the NASA-funded project.
Past studies have typically predicted a decrease in rainfall in California as global temperatures rise — although many studies have indicated such factors are difficult to assess.
Allen said it’s generally accepted that …read more
Source:: East Bay – Science