Global warming increases rain in world's driest areas

March 8, 2016 by Alvin Stone
Global warming increases rain in world's driest areas
Credit: iStock

Global warming will increase rainfall in some of the world's driest areas over land, with not only the wet getting wetter but the dry getting wetter as well.

New research published today in Nature Climate Change has revealed that in the Earth's dry regions, global warming will bring an overall increase in rainfall and in extreme precipitation events that could lead to flash flooding becoming a more regular event.

"We found a strong relationship between global warming and an increase in rainfall, particularly in areas outside of the tropics," said lead author UNSW's Dr Markus Donat from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.

"Within the tropics we saw an increase in rainfall responding to global warming but the actual rate of this increase was less clear."

Unfortunately for societies, businesses and agricultural activities that exist in arid regions, the expected increase in rainfall over dry areas does not necessarily mean that more water will become available according to the researchers. The additional heat caused by global warming will likely lead to increased evaporation. This means that while there may be more extreme flooding events it may have little impact on overall water storage rates.

"The concern with an increased frequency and in particular intensity of extreme precipitation events in areas that are normally dry is that there may not be infrastructure in place to cope with extreme flooding events," said Dr Donat.

"Importantly, this research suggests we will see these extreme rainfall events increase at regional levels in dry areas, not just as an average across the globe."

The researchers were able to reach this conclusion because they looked at regions with similar characteristics rather than trying to compare complex variations found when comparing one country or continent with another.

This meant that dry regions in Australia were compared with similarly dry regions in Asia, Africa and many other countries. At the same time, wetter regions across different countries were also compared. This allowed the researchers to directly compare like with like.

Importantly, the findings remained consistent across observations and models.

"With precipitation climate models and observations don't always tell the same story regarding regional changes, but we were very surprised to find that our results turned out to be highly robust across both," said Dr Donat.

"It appears the uncertainties in climate models were greatest where the observational uncertainties were greatest. This suggests that improved observations will be vital for those planning for climate change if they are to reasonably determine how future precipitation will change in every corner of the world with global warming."

KEY FACTS:

  • The world's driest areas will see more rain and more flash floods as a result of global warming according to observations and climate models.
  • However, the increased evaporation caused by a warmer atmosphere means water storage rates will not change.
  • With observations and models showing the same uncertainties for precipitation, improved observation networks are urgently needed if we are to understand more precisely how precipitation will change with .

Explore further: Global precipitation variability decreased from 1940 to 2009

More information: Markus G. Donat et al. More extreme precipitation in the world's dry and wet regions, Nature Climate Change (2016). DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2941

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37 comments

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rogerbird2
5 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2016
So, is this a good thing or a bad thing.
what_2say
2 / 5 (20) Mar 08, 2016
It's bad because they have to raise our taxes to pay the people who tell us how bad it is. Then they can force us to use "green" tech that is subsidized by our taxes and won't do anything to change the climate. But it will make some people a lot of money.
antigoracle
1.8 / 5 (15) Mar 08, 2016
You can always count on the AGW Cult to find the grey lining in every cloud.
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (17) Mar 08, 2016
So, is this a good thing or a bad thing.

If you're thinking that this will be regular enough so that one can plan for it (e.g. for turing deserts into farmland): Probably not
If you're thinking that we'll see increased damages due to people needing to flee flash flooded areas: Probably yes
Old_C_Code
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2016
Duh.
dogbert
2.4 / 5 (17) Mar 08, 2016
None of the effects of global warming can ever be presented in a positive way. Everything has to be bad.

If it is going to get dryer, dry areas are going to get dryer, and that is going to be bad.

Now it is going to get wetter, dry areas are going to get wetter, and that is going to be bad.

It is doom and gloom all the way. Otherwise, funding might diminish.
kochevnik
1.5 / 5 (8) Mar 08, 2016
Yes dogbert, wanting bigger government colluding with banksters is as dumb as leaving cash everywhere and expecting to find more in the morning after a drunken binge. All the AGW stories began with David Rothschild, not scientists
Manfred Particleboard
4.3 / 5 (12) Mar 08, 2016
So you posted as acerbically about the military being used in the middle east to make large contracting companies very rich did you? And I suppose that 'Green tech' that is going to make a difference is going to come from backyarders and grassroots enthusiasts. Large infrastructure is either funded privately (which suits private needs) or publicly to serve the public needs. So hating the idea of the use of public money you have set up a self fulfilling prophesy. Don't spend any money on the problem, because it wont solve the problem. Like saying the room's only going to get dirty that's why I don't clean it.
My money, my money,mine mine mine!
MR166
1.7 / 5 (11) Mar 08, 2016
The greening of the deserts due to increased CO2 levels has to be dealt with lest the CO2 is always bad message gets diluted. Thus it can't just rain more there has to be catastrophic floods associated with increased levels.
cantdrive85
1.4 / 5 (11) Mar 08, 2016
The researchers were able to reach this conclusion because they looked at regions with similar characteristics rather than trying to compare complex climate variations found when comparing one country or continent with another.


So, in short, this is GIGO! Although I shouldn't be surprised, this is AGWism in a nutshell, meaningless bullshit passed off as science.
tgoldman
5 / 5 (2) Mar 08, 2016
'water storage rates will not change'.-- unless systems for changing them do -- hopefully increasing storage capacity. The only part of the result that is interesting and not obvious is that all areas, even dry ones, receive more rainfall. With larger ocean surface areas and higher temperatures, humidity has to increase and so one would expect also, the likelihood of rain
dan42day
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2016
I especially liked how the researcher's assertions went from being conclusions to "key facts" at the end of the article.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (2) Mar 08, 2016
So you posted as acerbically about the military being used in the middle east to make large contracting companies very rich did you? And I suppose that 'Green tech' that is going to make a difference is going to come from backyarders and grassroots enthusiasts. Large infrastructure is either funded privately (which suits private needs) or publicly to serve the public needs.
Federal government spending rarely serves the public needs. It serves the elite's interests in tending and herding their flock or offloading their losses directly onto the sheep, as with the TOO BIG TO FAIL banks
leetennant
4.6 / 5 (9) Mar 08, 2016
So, is this a good thing or a bad thing.


It just is. Also it's not unexpected. Take Central Australia where we're looking at increased rainfall in desert areas because all our climatic zones are shifting south. Great!

Except the areas of desertification are being shifted SOUTH where our cities are and all the people live. Not great.

Basically, the benefits of the increased rainfall in unpopulated areas are not going to compensate for the prolonged, possibly permanent, drought in the cities south of it in the short term.

So with most things to do with climate change, it's neutral geologically but very very bad for human civilisation.
rrrander
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 09, 2016
Life was most prolific and diverse in the warmest eras. Something the GWKooks avoid talking about.
leetennant
5 / 5 (3) Mar 09, 2016
Yeah the Miocene was a heyday for human civilisation
Manfred Particleboard
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 09, 2016
Federal government spending rarely serves the public needs. It serves the elite's interests in tending and herding their flock or offloading their losses directly onto the sheep, as with the TOO BIG TO FAIL banks
And what about all the less media worthy stuff like trade subsidies; on everything from agriculture to aerospace. Who pays for the fact a bag of US wheat on the commodities market it as cheap as the next guy...you do. What does it get you...jobs. But that's mainly the US model. If there weren't lobby groups for everything, then public disbursement might be a little more efficient. Public spending in other countries DOES actually get results, but since you treat corporate interests politically and legally as equal to private...well! There's ya problem! Start regulating the rorts. You can't say because the system is being rorted then there is no valid use of public money.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (3) Mar 09, 2016
Trade subsudies are made to accomidate oligarch mandates, not the people. That is a piss poor example of why federal governments should exist. Look at USA federal government. It is controlled by psychopaths like Hilary who cackles at the mention of murdering Gaddafi. Or Soros who proudly led NAZIs to his neighbors, and advancing the NAZI agenda today in Eurasia. Granted there should be some overseeing body, but USA is nothing but the most successful drug empire in history. Citizens are attracted to placing psychopaths in power, which is why nuclear war is the most likely outcome. Ironically there is a simple test for psychopathy but it is buried and banned even from suggestion in Western press
Manfred Particleboard
1 / 5 (4) Mar 09, 2016
I agree with what you have observed, the will of the people is not being observed at a federal level in many ways. The Founding Fathers put in place many checks and balances to try and separate the centres of power like the courts, government and military. They didn't anticipate in a modern sense of just how powerful money can be. The NRA are more than happy to invoke the political legacy of such foresight, and yet who is defending real freedom from fiduciary tyranny? Federation is joining of states interests, Federal law should represent the collective will of the states. And the states represent the will of the people in them.
What has gone wrong?

kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Mar 09, 2016
The state is created by dumbing down people and making them dependent. Intelligence agencies exist to persuade people about new oligarch agendas. They are displacing the intelligence of the people with the intelligence and interests of the oligarchs. One should remember that leaders see much more in common with themselves, and come to see the people as something to be managed and controlled. The problem begins when leaders cease working for the public good, and begin working for a salary and perks
Manfred Particleboard
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 09, 2016
Once again I agree, there has been the mantra shoved down the western world's throat that there is nothing better than a capitalist democracy (contradiction in terms) for the good of the people. Socialist models like Marxism held up as the alternatives. And I dare you to find me a documentary shown in prime time about the Mondragon corporation and it's success over the last 50 years! Mondra who??? Funny how this has slipped under the radar of the west, land of the free!
bluehigh
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 09, 2016
.Take Central Australia where we're looking at increased rainfall in desert areas because all our climatic zones are shifting south. - misinformed guess.


You'd be cherry picking your definition of Central Australia to be even close to reality.

Do you have some evidence to back you claim?

Or you can read the Australian Bureau of Meteorology annual reports to get a useful understanding.

Start with last year and work backwards for a few decades. It's climate, not weather.

Read the facts and educate yourself ...

http://www.bom.go...ual/aus/

Manfred Particleboard
3.3 / 5 (7) Mar 09, 2016
Even if it did rain in central Australia, the soils are so ancient and depleted of any real nutrients you'd be lucky to get anything but Asteraceae to grow. Still, there's no net benefit to having some random rainfall in a semi arid environment while traditionally stable and productive land becomes more erratic in it's ability to support agriculture.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 09, 2016
Once again I agree, there has been the mantra shoved down the western world's throat that there is nothing better than a capitalist democracy

In all societies young children are taught to care and share. In capitalist systems they are taught - as they grow older - that this type of behavior is pure evil ("That's communist!)
They're born selfish bastards, grow up to be copmpassionate human beings, and are forced back into being selfish bastards. Anyone would develop schizophrenic tendencies under those conditions.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (2) Mar 09, 2016
Do you have some evidence to back up what appears to be utter bullshit presented as fact?

Or are you beng deceptive and its your worthless dribble masquerading as fact.

viko_mx
1 / 5 (6) Mar 09, 2016
I should make a list of the most popular mantras and mythologies of the 21st century.
thefurlong
4.8 / 5 (10) Mar 09, 2016
I should make a list of the most popular mantras and mythologies of the 21st century.

Yes.

Let's start with "Anthropogenic Global Warming is just a hoax."

We can follow that up with "Evolution is just a theory."

And finally sum it up with "I don't believe in results obtained from the scientific method, but I do believe that a 950 year old man built a giant boat that housed every single land species on earth, and then the world got flooded in an amount of water that greatly exceeds the amount of water actually available on Earth, because an ancient book told me so."
Thorium Boy
2.1 / 5 (7) Mar 10, 2016
We have a standing order from the Global Warming People's Directorate, Propaganda Division that, "No positive impacts of a warming climate must ever be discussed, in any forum."
antigoracle
1 / 5 (4) Mar 10, 2016
We have a standing order from the Global Warming People's Directorate, Propaganda Division that, "No positive impacts of a warming climate must ever be discussed, in any forum."

What blasphemy!!
Burn this heretic.
rrrander
1 / 5 (6) Mar 11, 2016
I should make a list of the most popular mantras and mythologies of the 21st century.

Yes.

Let's start with "Anthropogenic Global Warming is just a hoax."

We can follow that up with "Evolution is just a theory."

And finally sum it up with "I don't believe in results obtained from the scientific method, but I do believe that a 950 year old man built a giant boat that housed every single land species on earth, and then the world got flooded in an amount of water that greatly exceeds the amount of water actually available on Earth, because an ancient book told me so."


Difference is, there are thousands of REAL examples of proof of evolution, unlike the modeled "proofs" of AGW. Global warmers should stop trying to lump in anti-evolutionists, anti-scientists with anti-global warmers. Sloppy science should be avoided by everyone.
thefurlong
5 / 5 (9) Mar 11, 2016
Difference is, there are thousands of REAL examples of proof of evolution, unlike the modeled "proofs" of AGW.

They aren't modeled. They are demonstrated. There's a difference. We know FROM HISTORY that humans are causing climate change.

Here is the evidence, but I am sure you will find a reason to dismiss it, because that's what deniers do:
http://www.ucsusa...O5PkrJhE

Global warmers should stop trying to lump in anti-evolutionists, anti-scientists with anti-global warmers. Sloppy science should be avoided by everyone.

I don't distinguish between types of deluded people. A deluded person is a deluded person, and reason, I have found, will not reach them.

Not once in all of my attempts to communicate with people who are deluded, be it about evolution, global warming, etc, have I ever seen one adapt to new information. EVER.
rodkeh
1.6 / 5 (11) Mar 11, 2016
Climate change has been happening since the dawn of time. Anyone who thinks we can stop it is an idiot! Just be glad the planet is warming and not cooling.
Mike_Massen
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 12, 2016
rodkeh states
Climate change has been happening since the dawn of time
Yes & often very slow rates of change when nil extinction like events Eg comets/asteroids, super-volcanoes & sol stable insolation declines, orbit is very stable.

rodkeh went on with immense ignorance claiming
Anyone who thinks we can stop it is an idiot!
No. Shows you 've NOT learned Rate of Change (RoC) re CO2 & other greenhouse gases proven for ~100 years have absorption/emission of infra red light - ie Heat !

You've been here since Sep 24, 2014 yet are ignorant of cause or RoC, who's the idiot ?

Why havent you been able to back up claims with *any* evidence at all, who's the idiot ?

Does that appear smart, does it appear intelligent, does it appear useful, who's the idiot ?

Are you a robot follower of dumb politics & intend staying superficial,,who's the idiot ?

rodkeh
.be glad the planet is warming..
Ugh, talk to farmers with 45+ C days, declining rain, who's the idiot !
Old_C_Code
1 / 5 (3) Mar 13, 2016
Duh.
... just saying:
warmer water => more evaporation => more condensation

Regardless of your opinion on this political circus called climate science.
gkam
1 / 5 (4) Mar 13, 2016
"I should make a list of the most popular mantras and mythologies of the 21st century."
-----------------------------------

No thanks, we already discussed the "god" idea and found it silly.
SamB
1 / 5 (4) Mar 13, 2016
So, is this a good thing or a bad thing.

If you're thinking that this will be regular enough so that one can plan for it (e.g. for turing deserts into farmland): Probably not
If you're thinking that we'll see increased damages due to people needing to flee flash flooded areas: Probably yes

If you are thinking anyone is ever going to agree that this is a good thing: Probably not.
If you think alarmists are ever going to think anything good can possible come from climate change: Probably Yes
thefurlong
5 / 5 (6) Mar 14, 2016
Climate change has been happening since the dawn of time.

Of course! It's only happening at like 10x the rate of previous climate change, but why worry?

Just like we shouldn't worry about a supervolcano erupting, because volcanos have been erupting since the dawn of time.
And worldwide plagues? Please! Disease has been happening ever since life began.
Don't even get me started on meteors.

Anyone who thinks we can stop it is an idiot!

At this point, I'm inclined to agree, because imbeciles like you have kept governments from enacting any policies to stop climate change when we had the chance.

Now, the best thing to hope for is to mitigate the damage.
Just be glad the planet is warming and not cooling.

The planet doing EITHER at the rate at which it is currently happening would be bad PERIOD. I mean, didn't you learn about ecosystems? Nature doesn't do well with rapid change. Ever.

And you guys wonder why we call you idiots.

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