Wet places become wetter and dry places become drier under America's future climate.
Wet places become wetter and dry places become drier under America’s future climate.
Climate change is expected to bring about warmer temperatures in most places around the globe. But the situation with rainfall and snow is different. As Earth warms due to rising levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, scientists expect existing precipitation patterns in many cases to become more extreme. In short, rainy regions will see more rain, and dry regions will become drier. Two climate scenarios—one where global carbon dioxide levels reach 550 parts per million (ppm) by the year 2100, and another where levels rise to 800 ppm—were analyzed to see how such changes could affect different parts of the U.S. The analysis was performed for the National Climate Assessment, a U.S. Global Change Research Program effort to study and help the nation prepare for climate change. Watch the videos to see how precipitation patterns in the U.S. could change under each scenario.

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Short URL to This Page:
http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11281
Animation Number:
11281
Released:
2013-07-18
Completed:
2013-07-17
Animator:
Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC)
Producer:
Scientists:
Kenneth Kunkel (NOAA/NCDC,CICS-NC)
 
Brooke Stewart (NOAA/NCDC,CICS-NC)
 
Laura Stevens (NOAA/NCDC, CICS-NC)
 
Anne Waple (NOAA)
Project Support:
Andrew Buddenburg (NOAA/NCDC,CICS-NC)
Writer:
Patrick Lynch (Wyle Information Systems)
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


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This video shows precipitation changes based on a scenario in which carbon dioxide levels reach about 550 ppm.
This video shows precipitation changes based on a scenario in which carbon dioxide levels reach about 550 ppm.
>View movie
This video shows precipitation changes based on a scenario in which carbon dioxide levels reach about 800 ppm.
This video shows precipitation changes based on a scenario in which carbon dioxide levels reach about 800 ppm.
>View movie
By 2050, the low-emissions scenario (550 ppm CO2) shows widespread precipitation changes across the continental U.S.
By 2050, the low-emissions scenario (550 ppm CO2) shows widespread precipitation changes across the continental U.S.
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By 2050 in the high-emissions scenario (800 ppm CO2), the Northeast has become wetter and the Southwest has become drier.
By 2050 in the high-emissions scenario (800 ppm CO2), the Northeast has become wetter and the Southwest has become drier.
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By 2100, the low-emissions scenario (550 ppm CO2, left) and high-emissions scenario (800 ppm CO2, right) show dramatic precipitation changes.
By 2100, the low-emissions scenario (550 ppm CO2, left) and high-emissions scenario (800 ppm CO2, right) show dramatic precipitation changes.
>View larger image