Frequency Change in Extreme Rainfall at Century's End Compared to 2000-2013 (credit: NCAR)
In the story of Noah as told in the Bible, "rains fell upon the Earth for 40 days and 40 nights" (Genesis 7:12) and swept everything away except Noah and his ark of animals. In a report just released by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Colorado, floods of biblical perportions may soon become a modern reality rather than a historical conjecture.
According to the NCAR analysis published in Nature Climate Change extreme storms could increase five-fold by the end of this century. By then, the number of summertime thunderstorms that produce extreme downpours could increase by more than 400 percent in parts of the Gulf Coast, Atlantic Coast, and the Southwestern USA. This means a storm that drops 2 inches of rain today would be likely to drop nearly 3.5 inches in the future.
Andres Prein, lead author of the NCAR study, noted: "These are huge increases. Imagine the most intense thunderstorm you typically experience in a single season. In the future, parts of the U.S. could expect to experience five of those storms in a season, each with an intensity as strong or stronger than current storms."
Using supercomputers to develop their new rainfall models the researchers said: "in today's climate, storms with the highest rainfall intensity form when daily temperatures are between 68-77 degrees F and with high atmospheric moisture. We found that storms may continue to intensify up to temperatures of 86F because of increasing humid atmospheres. The result would lead to much more intense storms."
Extreme Rains and Floods already happened this year and the new NCAR models show the future is now upon us. Unfortunately, Noah isn't around this time to help.