Extreme weather due to climate change: Lots of heavy rain harms the economy

Extreme weather due to climate change
Lots of heavy rain is detrimental to the economy

Climate change affects all areas of life, including the economy. According to a study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, a high number of rainy days reduces economic growth. In particular, rich countries as well as industry and service sectors are affected.

The economy suffers from bad weather: if the number of rainy days and days with extremely heavy rainfall increases, economic growth declines, according to a study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). “The global economy is being slowed down by more rainy days and extreme daily rainfall,” said PIK expert Leonie Wenz this Wednesday. The most affected are rich countries and the industrial and service sectors.

More precipitation is generally good for the economy, said Wenz. This applies in particular to economies that are dependent on agriculture. The decisive factor, however, is how the rain is distributed over the year. “Increased extreme rainfall turns out to be bad, especially for rich industrial countries like the USA, Japan or Germany.”

Influence of climate change through precipitation extremes

“We determined a number of different effects on economic production, but the most important one is that of extreme daily rainfall,” explained PIK researcher Maximilian Kotz, first author of the study. “We can already see the impact of climate change most clearly in the extreme cases of precipitation. They are increasing almost everywhere in the world.”

For those in the “Nature” journal published study, the PIK researchers evaluated data on the economic performance of over 1500 regions worldwide. These related to the period 1979 to 2019. These data were linked with information on precipitation.

“Significant economic impact”

“Our study shows that the global warming fingerprint in daily rainfall has a significant economic impact,” said study co-author Anders Levermann. Global warming means that more water vapor is stored in the air, which means that extreme rainfall is increasing.

The daily rain extremes are increasing all over the world. “It is the climate shocks caused by extreme weather conditions that threaten our way of life, not the gradual changes,” explained Levermann.

Increased risk of prolonged weather conditions in Europe

Just recently, on December 6th, a study was published, according to which climate change in Europe increases the risk of long-lasting summer weather conditions with the potential for extreme weather. As a result, people in Europe are likely to experience increasingly stronger and more dangerous weather events in the future, it said in the Analysis with the participation of experts from PIK.

The scientists examined weather circulation patterns from the past 40 years. The PIK expert and lead author explained that weather conditions are already generally more stable today study published in the journal “Scientific Reports”, Peter Hoffmann. The researchers reported that the heat waves now lasted longer, especially in the summer months. Precipitation events would also tend to be longer and stronger.

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