The forecast of America’s future includes a 400 percent increase in the number of extreme rain storms if climate change has its way. Six scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) found the frequency of intense rainstorms could increase by 2100, and could dump 70 percent more rain, in the absence of powerful action on climate change.

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The frequency of very extreme rainstorms leading to flooding or destruction could ramp up from once per season to five times per season before the end of this century, an increase of 400 percent, according to the NCAR scientists. Even worse, when those storms do come, they could hit harder, damaging infrastructure and homes that aren’t equipped to handle the deluge. Lead author Andreas Prein told The Guardian these rainstorms could be one of climate change’s worst consequences in the United States.

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The increase in rain could mainly affect the Atlantic and Gulf coast areas, but even the central part of America, which could get drier under warmer temperatures, might see extreme rainfall. The problem is that for dry areas, moderate rainstorms that nourish the land wouldn’t happen as much as drastic downpours that would damage crops.

Other analyses have revealed extreme rainfall is more likely to happen already because of climate change. Prein said the extreme rainstorms we see now could intensify in the future if we don’t step up and do something. He still seems to hold out hope these increased extreme weather patterns aren’t a done deal in the future. He told The Guardian, “It’s really in our hands to change that if we want to.” By limiting emissions, there might still be more extreme rain, but not as much as the NCAR scientists predict.

The journal Nature Climate Change published the scientists’ study online this week.

Via The Guardian

Images via Wikimedia Commons (1,2)