Climate change increases the exposure of mountains to rain

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have found that climate change is turning snowfall into rain in the mountains of the northern hemisphere.

According to Muhammad Ambadi, author of the study, a quarter of the world’s population lives in mountainous areas or downstream from them, and they will be directly affected by this danger.

Scientists already expect climate change to increase the volume of water that falls during extreme events, but this is the first time researchers have looked at whether such extreme precipitation comes in the form of rain or snow.

They found that the proportion of water that fell as snow decreased in mountainous regions and instead fell as rain, making the mountains particularly vulnerable to severe precipitation risks.

They explained that for every one degree Celsius increase in global temperature, an average of 15 percent more precipitation is expected at higher elevations.

While all mountain ranges in the Northern Hemisphere experience a change from snow to rain, those in North America’s Pacific Ocean (the Cascades range, Sierra Nevada, and coastal ranges from Canada to California) are most at risk for extreme precipitation events. Himalayas and high latitudes.

Ambadi said this is because much of the snowfall in this region usually occurs in temperatures just below zero degrees Celsius.

“The slightest change in air temperature will change this snowfall into rain. This is unlike other mountain ranges where snowfall can occur at very low temperatures below zero degrees.”

Ambadi hopes that other climate scientists will incorporate the distinction between snowfall and precipitation to improve global climate models, and that engineers and urban planners will use the data to better prepare for heavy rain events.

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