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How Climate change Impacts rainfall UPSC NOTE


  • Climate warming is leading to a decrease in snowfall and an increase in rainfall at high altitudes in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • A study published in Nature predicts a higher risk of extreme rainfall events due to climate change.

  • Extreme precipitation events, particularly heavy rainfall, pose a greater threat than snowfall because of their rapid runoff, increasing the risk of floods, infrastructure damage, and landslides.

  • The exact impact of global warming on extreme rainfall events is still uncertain.

  • Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory combined climate observations from 1950 to 2019 with future projections up to 2100 to assess the influence of climate change on precipitation patterns.

  • Their findings indicate that warming leads to an increase in extreme rainfall in high-altitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

  • On average, the intensity of extreme rainfall events is projected to increase by 15% for every 1 degree Celsius of warming.

  • The rate of increased rainfall in high-altitude areas is approximately double that of low-altitude regions, making mountainous areas more vulnerable to extreme precipitation.

  • The amplified increase in rainfall at high altitudes is attributed to a shift from snow to rain caused by warming.

  • The study emphasizes the need for robust climate adaptation plans to mitigate the risks posed by extreme rainfall events, particularly in mountainous regions.

  • It is crucial to develop adaptation strategies to protect both natural and built environments and the 26% of the global population living in or downstream of mountainous areas.

  • Additionally, as rainfall extremes increase, there is likely to be a decrease in snowfall extremes, which adds complexity to adaptation and mitigation strategies.


  • The Northern Hemisphere has a larger landmass compared to the Southern Hemisphere. 

  • Land surfaces tend to heat up and cool down more quickly than ocean surfaces, leading to more pronounced temperature variations

  • This makes the impacts of climate change, including changes in precipitation patterns, more evident in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • Among all the mountain ranges in the Northern Hemisphere, those at the greatest risk of extreme rainfall events are the North American Pacific mountain ranges.

  • These include the Cascades, Sierra Nevada, and coastal ranges from Canada to Southern California

  • Also at great risk are the Himalayas and high-latitude regions



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: How Climate change Impacts rainfall UPSC NOTE
How Climate change Impacts rainfall UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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