Research, Technology

Rainbows will appear more often in Russia - why is this a bad sign?

Sometimes ideas for future research by scientistscome to mind quite by accident, due to some events or coincidences of circumstances. This is exactly what happened to NYU environmental science professor Kimberly Carlson. At her home on the island of Oahu, she saw an unusually bright rainbow through the window. And although rainbows are not uncommon in Hawaii, Kimberly Carlson wondered if global warming is in any way affecting such a phenomenon as a rainbow? She asked this question to fellow climatologists, and he intrigued them so much that they attracted a whole group of students to the new study. The result was quite unexpected.

Scientists have found a pattern between the rainbow and global warming


  • 1 Rainbow in the sky - where does it come from?
  • 2 How climate affects the rainbow
  • 3 The number of “rainbow” days has increased
  • 4 How often will a rainbow appear on Earth
  • 5 Which regions will increase the number of days with a rainbow

Rainbow in the sky - where does it come from?

Have you ever wondered how much is in the skyrainbow appears? To “cook” such a beautiful phenomenon, only two ingredients are required - raindrops (the larger, the better) in the atmosphere and sunlight. That is why the rainbow can be seen after the rain, when the clouds disperse and the bright sun begins to shine.

The whole secret is that the sun's raysrefracted and reflected by water droplets. Since light of different colors is refracted differently, white light is decomposed into a spectrum. Red has the smallest refractive index, resulting in the color coming first. As you might guess, violet has the largest refractive angle.

Rainbows are created by the refraction of light

How climate affects rainbows

It would seem that what is the ratio of the average temperatureon the planet, or rather its increase, can affect the rainbow? But as it turns out, it can. The fact is that climate change affects the weather on the planet. This is especially noticeable in regions that are closest to the poles. As we discussed earlier, over time, the amount of rain in the Arctic will increase, and eventually the region will become rainy.

From this we can conclude that the number of daysin the year when the rainbow appears, it should also increase. And, although the rainbow usually causes moments of joy, in this case it is a signal of great problems around the world.

With climate warming, even in the Arctic and other regions, the amount of rains will increase, after which a rainbow appears

The number of “rainbow” days has increased

To test their hypothesis, scientistsused climate models. On their basis, they found out in which regions, if their assumption is not erroneous, the number of rainbows has increased. At the same time, they paid attention to the amount of rain without clouds in the region, which fell at the optimal time of the day and year for the rainbow. Then they compared the data obtained with the real situation, that is, observations of the rainbow over the past 10 years.

As a result, the models coincided with the real data.That is, where global warming has affected the weather more, the number of rainbows has increased. In this way, models can predict in which regions this phenomenon will become more frequent.

How often will a rainbow appear on Earth

Having discovered a pattern between the globalclimate warming and rainbows, scientists explored climate models of the future to 2100 based on current global warming projections. The team looked in these models for the same conditions for rainbows to appear. As expected, in the future the number of “rainbow” days will increase even more.

In some regions, the rainbow will not appear at all, as they will become very dry

However, this does not apply to all regions.Some regions, such as the Mediterranean, southern Africa, and even tropical South America, are expected to become drier in the future. As a result, by 2100 the number of days with a rainbow will decrease.

But how often will a rainbow appear onEarth? Currently, the average number of "rainbow" days is 108. By 2100, this value will increase to 117 days. True, much still depends on the models on the basis of which forecasts are made.

Rainbows will become a frequent sight in Alaska

Which regions will increase the number of days with a rainbow

Researchers report that the most significantan increase in the number of "rainbow" days awaits Russia, Canada and Alaska. In addition, rainbows can be seen more often in the mountains, for example, on the Himalayan plateau. In these regions, the rainbow will appear more often for 30, 40 or even 50 days a year.

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The changes that scientists predict are ingreat risks and dangers. For example, in the Arctic, water that used to fall as snow will now turn into rain. This will lead to the melting of permafrost, the death of many animals, and even more acceleration of global warming, as large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane will be released from the soil.