(ORDO NEWS) — Climate modeling has shown that during periods of strong warming, rains of incredible scale and strength fell on the Earth.
Current climate changes threaten to raise the planet’s temperature by several degrees. However, in the past, it went through periods of more serious warming, sometimes warming up a couple of tens of degrees above the current level. At this temperature, the ice caps at the poles completely melted, and the living world faced dangerous tests. However, the behavior of the atmosphere under conditions of such a hot Earth is poorly understood.
Therefore, Jacob Seeley and Robin Wordsworth of Harvard University conducted computer simulations and found that during the hottest climatic eras, droughts were replaced by rains of incredible intensity, which covered many hundreds of kilometers, shedding tens of centimeters of precipitation in a matter of hours. They write about this in an article published in the journal Nature.
“If you look at the vast expanses of the tropics today, it must be raining somewhere,” explained Jacob Seely. “But we have shown that in extremely warm climates, whole days must pass without a drop of rain in a huge area above the ocean. Then, suddenly, a heavy downpour opened up almost across the entire region, pouring out incredible amounts of water. Then there was silence for a couple of days, and everything was repeated.”
Modeling extreme warming, the scientists entered into the calculations an increased amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide (in some cases, 64 times more than the current one) or an increase in the brightness of the Sun (up to 10 percent), which led to the heating of the planet to more than 50 degrees Celsius. It was under such conditions that a short-term cycle arose, leading to the appearance of extreme showers.
Due to the intense evaporation of moisture from the planet’s surface, an “inhibiting layer” arose above it, which prevented the rise of water to the height of the formation of rain clouds. Those clouds that formed above could rain, but this moisture evaporated, not having time to reach the ground and causing only cooling.
As a result, water accumulated in the air, and the temperature dropped until the moment when cloudiness could appear, despite the “inhibiting layer”, and all the accumulated moisture fell out in a downpour. “It’s like charging a huge battery,” adds Jacob Seeley. According to climatologists, such rains could pour out more than a foot (30 centimeters) of precipitation in a few hours.
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