A new NASA study shows that warming of the tropical oceans due to climate change could lead to a substantial increase in the frequency of extreme rain storms by the end of the century.
The study team, led by Hartmut Aumann of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, combed through 15 years of data acquired by NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument over the tropical oceans to determine the relationship between the average sea surface temperature and the onset of severe storms.
They found that extreme storms – those producing at least 0.12 inches (3 millimeters) of rain per hour over a 16-mile (25-kilometer) area – formed when the sea surface temperature was higher than about 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius). They also found that, based on the data, 21 percent more storms form for every 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) that ocean surface temperatures rise.
“It is somewhat common sense that severe storms will increase in a warmer environment. Thunderstorms typically occur in the warmest season of the year,” Aumann explained. “But our data provide the first quantitative estimate of how much they are likely to increase,
Original Title: Warming seas may increase frequency of extreme storms
Full Text of the Original Article: https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2837/