Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Warming could reduce rainfall

Scientists have warned that global warming could reduce rainfall, contrary to the belief that rising temperatures lead to increase in overall precipitation levels.

Previous studies have shown that rainfall will increase globally by 2-3% for every degree Celsius that the Earth's surface heats up.

But, scientists at the University of Leeds who looked at a range of climate change scenarios, found that rainfall may actually decline if temperature in the atmosphere continues to increase. "Clearly there's something else going on," said lead author Timothy Andrew.

"We found that precipitation isn't just affected by temperature change at the surface. It also responds directly to increased heating in the atmosphere," Andrews said.

And because the atmosphere responds to heating much more quickly than the surface the effect on rainfall is also much faster, Andrewssaid.

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