The future is rainier than expected, according to NASA study

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA — A new study prepared by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows the amount of rain in tropical regions may increase in the future due to global warming.

The study, titled “Tightening of tropical ascent and high clouds key to precipitation change in a warmer climate”, was published in the journal Nature Communications. Its main findings include the tightening of the Hadley cell, which is the atmospheric general circulation above the equator, and how the decrease in tropical high clouds would lead to more rainfall in tropical regions.

According to the study, fewer high clouds leads to a cooler tropical atmosphere, which then requires increased latent heating to balance the cooling from high cloud shrinkage. This would then lead to an increase precipitation that would occur primarily over the tightened convective zones near the equator.

“This study provides a pathway for improving predictions of future precipitation change,” scientist Hui Su of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who led the study said in a press release.

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