Sunday, August 9, 2009

Getting Wetter Around Here

So, THAT'S what happened this summer! No, seriously, it's another indication of climate change and something we need to watch carefully, for land-use, agriculture and other reasons.

Earth's Most Prominent Rainfall Feature Creeping Northward

ScienceDaily (Aug. 9, 2009) — The rain band near the equator that determines the supply of freshwater to nearly a billion people throughout the tropics and subtropics has been creeping north for more than 300 years, probably because of a warmer world, according to research published in the July issue of Nature Geoscience.

If the band continues to migrate at just less than a mile (1.4 kilometers) a year, which is the average for all the years it has been moving north, then some Pacific islands near the equator – even those that currently enjoy abundant rainfall – may be drier within decades and starved of freshwater by midcentury or sooner. The prospect of additional warming because of greenhouse gases means that situation could happen even sooner.

The findings suggest "that increasing greenhouse gases could potentially shift the primary band of precipitation in the tropics with profound implications for the societies and economies that depend on it," the article says.
And, of course, if the rain moves north, southern areas could be left high and dry, literally.

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