The effects of global warming are likely to cause different kinds of storms in the United States than what was previously expected. A new framework for modeling storm behavior, created at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, suggests that storm intensity is expected to increase over today's levels, but not in the long term.

According to the research, published Dec. 1, in Journal of Climate, a reduction of the storm intensity is expected to take place in the long run. The approach employs new statistical methods in identifying and tracking storm features in high-resolution climate modeling simulations as well as observational weather data.

Clarification On Flooding And Its Evolution

Through this new framework, scientists were offered the possibility to clarify a common divergence in model forecasts in precipitation changes, by simulating the future effects of high atmospheric carbon dioxide.

"Climate models all predict that storms will grow significantly more intense in the future, but that total precipitation will increase more mildly over what we see today," noted Elisabeth Moyer, senior author of the study and associate professor of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago.

Provided that some regions would undergo severe droughts, while others will experience severe flooding, precipitations are one of the factors that could massively impact food and water supply, along with associated pressure on infrastructure and government services of affected states.

By running analyses consisting of simulations of precipitations now (between 2002 and 2011) and the future (between 2085 and 2094), the team of scientists observed modifications in the storm features, which explained why the stronger storms that we predict today will not increase the overall effects of precipitations to the extent that we expect them to.

Floods: Change In Pattern

Individual storms are becoming geographically smaller, particularly during the summer periods. During the cold season, storms are becoming smaller as well, but also shorter and less frequent.

The research sheds new light on the current perspective on precipitations. Not only does it help understand disparities in previous models, but it also creates an important first step on the analysis of future models, which can lead to a better overall understanding of the future risk caused by shifts in precipitations.

At the beginning of 2016, another research, conducted in the United Kingdom, was published, providing evidence that human-induced greenhouse gas emissions could lead global warming to cause devastating and extreme flooding in the following years. The research looked at Storm Desmond, which took place in the UK in December 2015.

"What was once a 1 in 100-year event in a world without climate change is now a 1 in 70-year event," noted Oxford University's Friederike Otto, co-author of the research. 

According to the report, the devastating flood from Storm Desmond was 40 percent more probable due to climate change, and the UK rainfall record for the month showed a 50 to 75 percent higher likelihood that it was caused by global warming.

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