HONOLULU (KHON2) — In the next 80 years, researchers predict there will be about 5% more days with rainbows than at the beginning of the 21st century. That’s according to a study led by researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The reason?
“Living in Hawai‘i, I felt grateful that stunning, ephemeral rainbows were a part of my daily life,” said Kimberly Carlson, the lead author of the study. “I wondered how climate change might affect such rainbow viewing opportunities.”
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Due to the abundance of sunlight and water, islands are the best places to view rainbows. Hawaii is expected to experience a few more days with rainbows per year by 2100 due to climate change, according to the study.
“Our research demonstrates that alterations to non-tangible environmental attributes due to climate change could be significant and are worthy of consideration and mitigation,” the study said.
With burning fossil fuels warming the atmosphere, researchers predict changes in the patterns and amounts of rainfall and cloud cover. Since sunlight and rainfall are essential ingredients for rainbows, this may affect how they occur under climate change.
“We often study how climate change directly affects people’s health and livelihoods, for instance via the occurrence of heat stroke during climate change-enhanced heat waves,” said Camilo Mora, at the UH Mānoa Department of Geography and Environment.
But there aren’t many researchers examining how climate change could change the aesthetic qualities of the environment, like with rainbows.
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Warming is predicted to lead to less snow and more rain at northern latitudes and very high elevations, so these places are forecasted to experience more rainbows. Places with less rainfall due to climate change, such as the Mediterranean, are forecasted to see less rainbows.