Research highlight

Heavy rains ahead

Nature Geoscience

July 21, 2008

Extreme rainfall on timescales of hours could increase with climate change twice as fast as expected, according to research published online this week in Nature Geoscience. Downpours of such short durations can lead to local flooding, erosion and water damage.

Erik van Meijgaard and Geert Lenderink analysed hourly rainfall observations over the past 99 years from De Bilt in the Netherlands and simulated future climate change in a high-resolution regional climate model covering Europe. In both data sets, hourly precipitation extremes increased at a rate of 14% per degree centigrade of warming, whereas rates of 7% per degree would be expected from theoretical considerations.

doi: 10.1038/ngeo262

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