Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Hail and climate change

It usually crosses my mind at least once every summer, particularly if hail is falling outside, what effect a warming atmosphere might have on its frequency and size.

Well, some scientists have looked at this for the United States, where it is expected to make a difference:
Anthropogenic climate change is anticipated to increase severe thunderstorm potential in North America, but the resulting changes in associated convective hazards are not well known. Here, using a novel modelling approach, we investigate the spatiotemporal changes in hail frequency and size between the present (1971–2000) and future (2041–2070). Although fewer hail days are expected over most areas in the future, an increase in the mean hail size is projected, with fewer small hail events and a shift toward a more frequent occurrence of larger hail. This leads to an anticipated increase in hail damage potential over most southern regions in spring, retreating to the higher latitudes (that is, north of 50°N) and the Rocky Mountains in the summer. In contrast, a dramatic decrease in hail frequency and damage potential is predicted over eastern and southeastern regions in spring and summer due to a significant increase in melting that mitigates gains in hail size from increased buoyancy.
Reminds me a bit of the complexity of rainfall changes under climate change - with rainfall intensification, but increased drying on hotter days, you might end up with roughly the same amount of rainfall over (say) a year, but more damage caused by the intensity when it does fall.

1 comment:

not trampis said...

I always find it remarkable that most denialists really have no idea about this. They simply assume ignorantly that water dries up and we have much hotter days call year round.