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SOURCE: Illinois News Bureau

DATE: September 18, 2017

SNIP: Major floods and droughts receive a lot of attention in the context of climate change, but University of Illinois researchers analyzed over five decades of precipitation data from North America to find that changes in nonextreme precipitation are more significant than previously realized and larger than those in extreme precipitation. These changes can have a strong effect on ecosystems, agriculture, infrastructure design and resource management, and point to a need to examine precipitation in a more nuanced, multifaceted way.

“This study articulates how everyday precipitation events – not just the extremes that have been the focus of most studies – are changing,” said Illinois civil and environmental engineering professor and lead author Praveen Kumar. “It’s not just the amount of rainfall that is important; it’s the duration of that rainfall and the amount of time between rainfalls and dry periods.”