Nov 14, 2017

Study: Harvey-like rainfall to hit Texas more often

Photo: Charlie Riedel / AP

A new MIT study estimates a 18-in-100 chance coastal Texas will experience a 20-inch rain by 2081, up from a 1-in-100 chance during the period of 1981-2000, per the AP.

Why it matters: With increased odds for massive rainfall comes huge risks for Texas' infrastructure and housing stock. Texas' state climatologist told AP that the study indicates that the state's "safety margin is shrinking" as the chances for high-precipitation events rise.

How it worked: The researchers combined modeling techniques for hurricanes and climate change, dropping thousands of fictional storms into the combined model to see how future hurricanes might behave.

A caveat: Some scientists indicated their worries about the study, believing that a warmer climate might actually bring fewer hurricanes. The study's head, Kerry Emanuel, pushed back against those assertions in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, saying that while the raw numbers of hurricanes might decrease, the storms themselves are likely to increase in intensity and rainfall in a warmer climate.

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