Climate Change and its Impact on Levels of Extreme Precipitation
The frequency and intensity of events of extreme precipitation has increased since the 1950s in the U.S. and across many regions of the world according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). The trend that scientist expect to continue is due to the rising warmth of the planet which increases the air’s capacity for water vaper by about 7% for each degree Celsius of warming; and “an atmosphere with more moisture can produce more intense precipitation events.” The potential of flooding is the most immediate impact of heavy precipitation, particularly in urban areas where non-permeable pavement forces water to quickly run off into sewer systems; as well as the risk of landslides due to the terrain in some states such as Washington. It has become critical to address greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the likelihood of extreme precipitation events occurring. More frequent severe storms have increased pressure on property-casualty insurers as a growing number of insurance claims are filed due to weather-related losses. In the past two years, the number of weather events causing severe insurance losses has been the highest since at least 2010. It has led to an ongoing boosting of premiums by insurance companies to off-set the big upturn in claims.