BOULDER, Colo. – Climate scientists at the Boulder-based National Center for Atmospheric Research say that storms producing heavy downpours could increase by 400 percent by 2100 as a byproduct of climate change.
The findings from NCAR were published Monday in the science journal Nature Climate Change.
They found that some extreme storms could increase in intensity by up to 70 percent in some parts of the country, and that some could see the number of storms producing “extreme downpours” could increase by more than 400 percent in various parts of the U.S.
The models the research team made had to be run for a year, and were performed at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center.
They looked at storms that happened between 2000 and 2013 and how those same storms would be affected by a temperature increase of 9 degrees Fahrenheit – which some scientists have established as a mean expected temperature increase by 2100.
Most of the largest increases would be seen across the U.S. Gulf Coast and the desert Southwest, which could see increases between 200 and 400 percent. The Midwest could see an increase of about 100 percent in the number of storms producing intense rainfall.
The researchers’ models found that most of the country would be affected by such storms.
"Understanding how climate change may affect the environments that produce the most intense storms is essential because of the significant impacts these kinds of storms have on society," researcher Andreas Prein said.