Research highlight

Rainfall extremes linked to showers

Nature Geoscience

February 18, 2013

The amount of rainfall associated with heavy showers rises much faster in response to rising air temperatures than other types of rain, reports a study published online this week in Nature Geoscience. The findings imply that the increase in extreme rain expected with climate warming will mostly be associated with showery precipitation, such as thunderstorms, rather than the more steady rain that falls when different air masses meet.

Jan Haerter and colleagues combined measurements of rainfall over Germany with weather and temperature records to separate instances of showery, convective rainfall from rain events that occur when warm air masses override cooler ones. They find that showery rain intensifies much faster in response to warmer temperatures.

doi: 10.1038/ngeo1731

Return to research highlights

PrivacyMark System