Climate change is scientifically proven to affect every aspect of our planet’s ecosystem, and this includes the water cycle. Climate change increases our risk of experiencing both heavy rains, and extreme droughts. Because precipitation is highly dependent on temperature, changes in it have major consequences on the water cycle.
Global temperatures are continuing to see a steady increase at a fast rate, which is directly affecting water vapor concentrations, clouds, precipitation patterns, and stream flow patterns, all of which are related to the water cycle.
The water cycle consists of water evaporating from the land and sea which eventually comes back to earth as rain and/or snow. As temperatures increase, more evaporation takes place because warmer air can hold more moisture. The more moisture and vapor the air holds, the higher the chances of saturation and extremely heavy rainfalls. As we’ve seen this season, intense downpours like these can cause issues like flooding, flash flooding, and storm damage.
These types of downpours are often quick and ferocious. They drop enough water to do some serious damage. Saturating downpours can affect your gutters in multiple ways:
- Depending on the size and condition of your gutters, they may not be made to handle the large capacity of water that comes from these heavy downpours. Because this weather pattern is predicted to continue, if this is the case, you may want to look into upsizing and/or replacing your gutters to combat these storms in the coming years.
- If your gutters are clogged, a heavy downpour like this can dump enough water to damage your gutters and the surrounding area below. Instead of flowing properly and directing the water down the downspout away from your home, the water from a clog will pour over the edge of the gutter. With such a large quantity of water, this could lead to flooding in your home and/or damages to what is below your gutter, like your foundation or expensive landscaping.
- Heavy downpours can expose gutter problem areas. During such heavy rainstorms, you will be able to easily spot areas of your gutter that are not working properly. If the center of your gutter is overflowing, this may mean that you do not have enough downspouts, your gutters are clogged, or part of your gutter is sagging, or damaged. If it is overflowing near the downspout, this is a pretty clear sign that your downspout is clogged.
It is more important now than ever, to have a gutter system that is working properly and that is the proper size. Appropriately controlling these mass quantities of rain is extremely important in protecting your home.
Models of climate change predict that the U.S. annual-mean temperatures will generally rise about 2-3 degrees C over the next 100 years, also leading to an overall rise in precipitation levels. Over the 20th century, precipitation in the U.S. increased by 5-10%, and this is predicated to continue.
The other side of the water cycle is the area experiencing drought. As temperatures rise, evaporation increases and soil dries. In these cases when rain does finally come, a lot of the runoff grazes over the hard ground and into bodies of water, leaving the soil dry and further contributing to drought.
Decreased evaporation rates that lead to drought also leads to a limited supply of water. Because of the decreasing water supply, you may also want to think about a rain harvesting system. A rain barrel, or underground drainage system can harvest the rain water that comes from your gutters and can then be used for drinking (if filtered), and other water needs around the home.
If you’ve noticed during recent heavy storms that your gutters aren’t performing as they should, now is the time to have these problems remedied. As precipitation and temperatures are predicted to steadily increase over the next 100 years, preparation is important. Water damages can be costly and extremely time consuming. Contact The Brothers that just do Gutters today for your free gutter estimate, and make sure your gutter system is ready to handle the storms associated with climate change!