Hailstones are like Mother Nature's bullets.
Hail forms when thunderstorm updrafts are strong enough to carry water droplets above the freezing level. A hailstone is formed during this freezing process, and can grow as more water freezes onto it. When the hailstone becomes too heavy and the updrafts can't carry them, it falls to the ground. These big natural "bullets" can destroy crops, homes, cars and even injure people. One such case was in Gopalganj, Bangladesh, where 92 people were killed by grapefruit-sized hailstones weighing around a kilo each.
On May 2017, Denver was hit by hailstones big as baseballs. It damaged homes, smashed through car windshields “like tissue paper,” and even knocked down power lines, according to The Washington Post
. It became Colorado's costliest catastrophe, with $1.4 billion in damages. But according to new research, things could get worse if we don't curb climate change.
Published in Nature Climate Change, a study shows that North America, particularly in places like Eastern Colorado, Nebraska, and Southern Dakota, could get fewer hail days but when hailstorms occur, hailstones that are larger than 1.6 inches would plummet in the second half of the 21st century. Researchers used different models to simulate how hail forms over North America between 2041 and 2070.
According to John Allen, assistant professor of meteorology at Central Michigan University, the results of the study gives “an important and much needed insight." But prediction isn't always definite and the simulations in the study can't imitate thunderstorms that makes hail.
Nonetheless, knowing what the future might look like could hopefully help us be ready of the possible catastrophes like these hailstorms. Allen explains that learning all of this "is a pressing need for future research”.
Hence, we better act fast and prepare for the worst because if we don't, our future generations would have to pay for it.