Study: Climate change brings more extreme rainfall to mountain towns
For every one degree Celsius that the climate warms, mountain regions can expect the intensity of extreme rainstorms to increase by 15%. That’s almost double what scientists previously thought, according to a new study in the journal Nature.
The new finding applies to areas 6,500 feet above sea level. In the Mountain West, there are several towns nestled in the mountains at an even higher elevation, including Laramie, Wyoming; Gallup, New Mexico; and a handful in Colorado, such as Durango, Breckenridge and Steamboat Springs.
Mohammed Ombadi, an environmental data scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the study’s lead author, said about one-quarter of the world’s population lives either in mountain regions or directly downstream.
“And obviously, you have direct risk of damages related to floods, to infrastructure to buildings to roads,” he said.
He said communities in vulnerable areas should invest in resilient infrastructure and long-term planning to mitigate risks.
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