Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Climate change and rain

By Michael J.W. Stickings

This is an especially pertinent finding given the flooding in the U.K., but, pertinence aside, it is yet more cause for concern, and for what ought to be global mobilization:

Human-induced climate change has affected global rainfall patterns over the 20th Century, a study suggests.

Researchers said changes to the climate had led to an increase in annual average rainfall in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.

But while Canada, Russia and northern Europe had become wetter, India and parts of Africa had become drier, the team of scientists added.

The specifics:

The team estimated that human activity, such as burning fossil fuels, was likely to have led to a 62mm increase in the annual precipitation trend over the past century over land areas located 40-70 degrees north, which includes Canada, northern Europe and Russia.

They also suggested the increase of greenhouse gases and sulphate aerosols in the atmosphere had contributed a 82mm increase in the southern tropics and subtropics (0-30 degrees south), and a 98mm decrease in precipitation in the northern tropics (0-30 degrees north).

The term for this sort of human activity is anthropogenic forcing. We're very good at it. Which means we're very bad for our planet.

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