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Climate 101: Why Does Climate Change Increase Rainfall?

The climate crisis is impacting weather patterns and the water cycle in dangerous ways. Some of these impacts might seem counterintuitive at first but make sense once you look at the big picture.


At Climate Reality, we get a lot of inquiries about how the climate crisis is impacting the world we live in. Some of the most common questions we get have to do with the effect climate change has on the water cycle. A lot of people want to know: Why does climate change sometimes mean more rain? Here’s the answer!

The water vapor that feeds precipitation comes from two sources. One study concludes that about 60 percent of the rain and snow that falls over land comes from moisture originating from the oceans, and the other 40 percent is “recycled” over the continents. China, for example, gets most of its rain and snow from evaporation over Eurasia.

As the atmosphere gets warmer, it can hold more moisture. The intensity of downpours (and therefore the risk of floods) depends in part on how much water the air can hold at a given time.

The rate of evaporation from the ocean is increasing as the world warms. Think about heating a large pot of water on your stove – the higher you turn the dial, the faster the water evaporates. Pretty much the same thing happens with the planet, and globally, this higher rate of evaporation contributes to more extreme rain and snow events.

Climate change is impacting different regions in different ways.

Posted by Climate Reality on Wednesday, June 7, 2017

But Did You Know Climate Change Can Also Cause More Droughts?

It might seem impossible – but it’s true. How can climate change increase our risk of both heavy rains and extreme droughts? Aren’t the two contradictory?

To learn the answers to these question and more, download our free e-book Climate Change and the Water Cycle: Four Big Questions Answered. In it, we answer some of the most common questions people ask about the impact of the climate crisis on how water moves around our world. Download the free e-book now to learn more