Somewhere over the rainbow climate impact is visible

Source: The post is based on the article “Somewhere over the rainbow climate impact is visible” published in DTE on 4th November 2022. 

What is the News? 

A research has found that the changes in cloud cover and liquid precipitation due to increased greenhouse gas emissions are projected to lead to a net increase in mean global annual rainbow days. 

What is a Rainbow? 

A rainbow is a common atmospheric optical phenomenon.  

It is a multicoloured arc in the sky that results when water droplets refract sunlight. Sunlight and rainfall are therefore essential ingredients for rainbows. 

Rainbows can be viewed around the fog, sea spray or waterfalls. Rainbows are the result of the refraction and reflection of light.  

A rainbow is an optical illusion—it does not actually exist in a specific spot in the sky.  

The colors on a primary rainbow are always in order of their wavelength, from longest to shortest: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. 

What is the link between Rainbow and Climate Change? 

Human activities such as burning fossil fuels are warming the atmosphere, which changes patterns and amounts of rainfall and cloud cover. 

Climate change will, thus, alter the distribution of rainbow occurrence by affecting evaporation and convergence of moisture. This alters patterns of precipitation and cloud cover. 

What will be the impact of climate change on the rainbow? 

Mean days of rainbows are expected to go up globally by 4.0–4.9% in a year by 2100. Around 21–34% of land areas will lose rainbow days and 66–79% will gain rainbow days under higher emission futures. 

Areas that will lose rainbow days are projected to have lower total precipitation by 2100. India is one of the countries where the number of rainbow days will increase. 

Rainbow gain hotspots are mostly located at higher latitudes or at very high elevations, like the Tibetan Plateau where warming is predicted to lead to less snow and more rain. 

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