Global Warming Increases Rain in World’s Driest Areas

Global Warming Increases Rain in World’s Driest Areas

Not only does the wet get wetter over land, but the driest areas get wetter too. Global warming will increase rainfall in some of the world’s driest areas over land, with not only the wet getting wetter but the dry getting wetter as well. New research published today in Nature Climate Change has revealed that in the Earth’s dry regions, global warming will bring an overall increase in rainfall and in extreme precipitation events that could lead to flash flooding becoming a more regular event. “We found a strong relationship between global warming and an increase in rainfall, particularly in areas outside of the tropics,” said lead author Dr Markus Donat from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. “Within the tropics we saw an increase in rainfall responding to global warming but the actual rate of this increase was less clear.” Unfortunately for societies, businesses and agricultural activities that exist in arid regions, the expected increase in rainfall over dry areas does not necessarily mean that more water will become available according to the researchers. The additional heat caused by global warming will likely lead to increased evaporation. This means that while there may be more extreme flooding events it may have little impact on overall water storage rates. “The concern with an increased frequency and in particular intensity of extreme precipitation events in areas that are normally dry is that there may not be infrastructure in place to cope with extreme flooding events,” said Dr Donat. “Importantly, this research suggests we will see these extreme rainfall events increase at regional levels in dry areas, not...
Why Use Rainwater to Flush Toilets?

Why Use Rainwater to Flush Toilets?

Drexel research looks at feasibility of rainwater recycling in 4 major US cities If you live in one of four major U.S. cities chances are you’re letting the benefits of a ubiquitous natural resource go right down the drain — when it could be used to cut down your water bill. Research by a team of Drexel University environmental engineers indicates that it rains enough in Philadelphia, New York, Seattle and Chicago that if homeowners had a way to collect and store even just the rain falling on their roofs, they could flush their toilets often without having to use a drop of municipal water. Toilet flushing is the biggest use of water in households in the United States and the United Kingdom, accounting for nearly one-third of potable water use. But there is no reason that clean, treated, municipal water needs to be used to flush a toilet — rainwater could do the job just as well. “People have been catching and using rain water for ages, but it’s only been in the last 20-30 years that we have realized that this is something that could be done systematically in certain urban areas to ease all different kinds of stresses on watersheds; potable water treatment and distribution systems; and urban drainage infrastructure,” said Franco Montalto, P.E., PhD, an associate professor in Drexel’s College of Engineering, and director of its Sustainable Water Resource Engineering Lab, who led the research effort. “The study looks at four of the largest metropolitan areas in the country to see if it rains enough to make implementation feasible and, if everyone did it, what...
Promising News for Solar Fuels

Promising News for Solar Fuels

There’s promising news from the front on efforts to produce fuels through artificial photosynthesis. A new study by Berkeley Lab researchers at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) shows that nearly 90-percent of the electrons generated by a hybrid material designed to store solar energy in hydrogen are being stored in the target hydrogen molecules.