Modelling Increase in Rainfall with Temperature

Rise in global temperature will lead to increase in rainfall. Thermodynamics helps to predict the future.

Publisher: T³ Europe

Editor: Ian Galloway, Christine Buerki

Author: Ian Galloway

Topic:  Physics  STEM  Mathematics

Tags  Pressure ,  Temperature ,  Rain ,  Sustainability ,  SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation ,  SDG 13: Climate Action

Thermal energy from the Sun evaporates water from the oceans. The water-vapour pressure determines how much water is in the atmosphere and consequently how much rain can fall. The relationship between pressure P and temperature T is described by the Clapeyron equation which is a triumph of thermodynamics.

The oceans and atmosphere represent an enormous thermodynamical system and climate models all use thermodynamics to model the atmosphere and predict the future! One of these predictions concerns the increase in rainfall as the mean global temperature rises. The atmosphere is able to hold more water vapour as the temperature rises and this results in ever greater amounts of rain.

At the end of this exercise students 

  • Are able to enter a complicated function into the graph page.
  • Are able to use the function notation in calculations.
  • Know the difference between exponential and non-exponential change.
  • Know that global warming will lead to increased rainfall.
  • Understand how mathematical models support scientific models.

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