Human activity is changing rainfall patterns throughout the world, bringing more precipitation to temperate and northern regions while providing less to subtropical and tropical regions north of the equator, according to a study to be published Thursday in the journal Nature.
The study is the first to confirm a link between rainfall patterns and global warming, according to co-author Francis Zwiers, the director of the Climate Research Division of Environment Canada.
Previous studies haven't shown a positive link between human-induced changes and precipitation on a global scale because changes in precipitation in different regions cancel each other out, Zwiers told CBC News.
But by looking at each latitudinal region individually, larger trends were discovered that could not be accounted for by naturally occurring changes such as increased volcanic activity.
Instead, the burning of fossil fuels appears to a leading cause, the authors said.