In times when the climate on Earth was much warmer than today, with average temperatures higher by several degrees Celsius, there were regular heavy rainstorms alternating with episodes of drought. Storms with downpours could extend over hundreds of kilometers, causing the water level to rise by several dozen centimeters within a few hours.
Research conducted by scientists from Harvard University allows not only to reconstruct the former Earth’s climate, but also to understand what climatic processes may take place on planets outside the Solar System.
Currently, a slight increase in average global temperatures is observed, which has significant climatic consequences, showing a tendency towards extreme atmospheric phenomena. You can imagine how violent climatic phenomena took place on Earth, where average global temperatures were several degrees higher than currently prevailing.
Such hot periods have occurred several times on our planet and will reappear hundreds of millions of years from now.
In a computer simulation, scientists increased the temperature of the sea surface to 55 degrees C. For this purpose, they added more CO2 (about 64 times) or increased the intensity of solar radiation.
At these temperatures, surprising things begin to happen in the atmosphere. The air near the surface becomes very warm, while the absorption of sunlight by the water vapor from the atmosphere heats the air higher above the surface. As a result, a barrier is created that prevents convective clouds from rising to the upper atmosphere and creating rain clouds.
Instead, the steam is trapped in the near-surface atmosphere. At the same time, clouds form in the upper atmosphere above the inhibition layer. The rain produced in these overhead clouds evaporates before it reaches the earth’s surface, returning all of this water to the system.
“It’s like charging a huge battery,” explains one researcher, Jacob T. Seeley. After a few days of such “battery charging” there is a huge downpour. In one simulation, scientists observed more rainfall in six hours than some tropical cyclones falling in the US in a few days. After the storm, the clouds dissipate and the rain stops for several days.
Source: niezalezna.pl, PAP