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gib65

does global warming increase rainfall?

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I'm wondering if heavier and more frequent rain falls is an effect of global warming. I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and this past winter has been especially snowy - not colder, but more snowy. This isn't an official statistic, it's just my own observations. Is it possible that GW is responsible?

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Global warming will change rain patters, but not necessarily increase rainfall overall.

 

At least that's what I heard. I'll look for a source.

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Global Warming will indeed lead to more precipitation.

 

However, we should be careful before trying to link any specific change to GW. Here, our winter was very hot (relatively speaking), but with much less precipitation than usual.

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Keep in mind that water vapor is also a greenhouse gas.

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The IPCC Feb 2007 report, Climate Change 2007: The Scientific Basis has a neat little graph showing where rainfall increases and decreases:

snapshot1.jpg

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A warmer climate allows the atmosphere to sustain more water vapour, which is of course the most potent of the greenhouse gases, representing 95% of greenhouse effects. Some of this water vapour will inevitably condense and fall as additional snow in the polar and mountainous regions, and may contribute to sustaining or thickening ice sheets. The amount of water currently held in the atmosphere is equivalent to about 2.5cms of ocean depth, which represents the total rise in sea level over the past decade.

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I'm wondering if heavier and more frequent rain falls is an effect of global warming. I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and this past winter has been especially snowy - not colder, but more snowy. This isn't an official statistic, it's just my own observations. Is it possible that GW is responsible?

 

I also live in Calgary. Your premise is not correct. In the 7 months when at least some snow is likely , October to April we here in Calgary receive on average a total of 7.4 inches of precipitation.. During those 7 months of 2006 and 2007 we have received 7.1 inches of precipitation according to Environment Canada. That's an inch of precipitation a month and for those 7 months. Calgary and southern Alberta in those months is a desert. The winter temperatures were more or less average with a bit warmer than average January and February and slightly cooler than average March and Apiril but well within normal fluctuations. The number of 'sunny' days during those 7 months was average in 2006/2007...the sunniest city in Canada (Prince Rupert, B.C. was the least sunny)

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Really? Hmm. So much for my observations. I guess I just hate snow :mad:

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Precipitation will make the rain fall more in one area and fall less in the other. It depends where you live. In Australia there was nearly no rain at all through the winter and in some parts of Europe there wasn't a lot of snow and unusually a lot of rain!!

So like I said it depends where you live.

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Something to consider perhaps !

 

http://geography.about.com/od/globalproblemsandissues/a/nexticeage.htm

 

As only 11,000 years has passed since the last Ice Age, scientists can not be certain that we are indeed living in a post-glacial Holocene epoch instead of an interglacial period of the Pleistocene and thus due for another ice age in the geologic future. Some scientists believe that an increase in global temperature, as we are now experiencing, could be a sign of an impending ice age and could actually increase the amount of ice on the earth's surface.

 

The cold, dry air above the Arctic and Antarctica carries little moisture and drops little snow on the regions. An increase in global temperature could increase the amount of moisture in the air and increase the amount of snowfall. After years of more snowfall than melting, the polar regions could accumulate more ice. An accumulation of ice would lead to a lowering of the level of the oceans and there would be further, unanticipated changes in the global climate system as well.

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