09/08/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Tropical Warming Tied To Flooding Rains

Scientists studying variations in tropical heat and rainfall since the mid-1980s have found a strong link between warm periods and a rise in the frequency of the most extreme downpours.

The observed rise in the heaviest tropical rains is about twice that produced by computer simulations used to assess how human-caused global warming could change rainfall, said the researchers.

Other studies have already measured a rise in recent decades in heavy rains in areas as varied as North America and India, and climatologists have long forecast more heavy rainstorms in a world warmed by accumulating greenhouse gases.

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