Global warming will increase the intensity of extreme rainfall events leading to more flooding in future, new research has predicted.
A worldwide review of global rainfall data led by the University of Adelaide has found that the intensity of the most extreme rainfall events is increasing as temperatures rise.
Researchers evaluated the association between extreme rainfall and atmospheric temperatures at more than 8000 weather stations around the world.
That showed a seven per cent increase in extreme rainfall intensity for every degree increase in global atmospheric temperature over the past century.
“Assuming an increase in global average temperature by three to five degrees celsius by the end of the 21st century, this could mean very substantial increases in rainfall intensity as a result of climate change,” lead researcher Seth Westra said.
“If extreme rainfall events continue to intensify, we can expect to see floods occurring more frequently around the world.”
The research found the strongest increases in rainfall intensity occurred in tropical countries, although some level of increase seemed to be taking place at the majority of weather stations.