Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Study: Heavy rain in Northeast is increasing trend

Seacoast Online (New Hampshire): Confirming what most people in the Northeastern United States are seeing out their windows these days and "consistent with projections of climate change associated with global warming," a new study of precipitation in the region over the last 50 years indicates an increasing trend of heavy rain events.

Conducted by the University of New Hampshire's Carbon Solutions New England (CSNE) and Clean Air-Cool Planet (CA-CP), "Trends in Extreme Precipitation Events for the Northeastern United States 1948-2007" details precipitation data from 219 National Weather Service cooperative stations in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The new report is an update of "Indicators of Climate Change in the Northeast 2005" by CA-CP and Cameron Wake, a research associate professor at the UNH Complex Systems Research Center and director of CSNE. The update is based on Master of Science thesis work conducted by UNH graduate Susan Spierre, and Wake.

Noting that "the impacts of changing climate on our infrastructure and ecosystems has become more apparent," Wake and Adam Markham, CEO and president of CA-CP, cite an increase in freshwater flooding events as having more frequent impacts on infrastructure and the health and life quality of people in the region.

…The increase in extreme precipitation events and in annual precipitation is occurring primarily during the spring and fall. Indeed, three separate downpours in this past March have set new rainfall records across the region.

"It is increasingly likely that policymakers and planners are going to have to contend with the ramifications of these types of events on a more regular basis," said Markham. "One of our chief interests at Clean Air-Cool Planet, in addition to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, is in helping communities develop the tools and information they need to adapt to the changing climate."…

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