Wetter the new normal in Pennsylvania, Northeast?
I get it that many of you don’t believe in climate change, and any mention of the politically charged concept angers you. But bear with me briefly.
It’s pretty clear from precipitation records that our region of the county – the Northeast – is getting wetter. As you no doubt know, last year was the wettest on record for Pennsylvania. And this year, most of the state is way above average.
Note the simple chart below that shows that, since the turn of the 21st Century, rainfall in Pennsylvania has increased on average by about 10%.
A comment by a Penn State forest researcher set me to thinking about all of this. “Here in the Northeast,” he said, “we have had a slight increase in precipitation that has ameliorated the warming.”
He pointed out that climate change models predict that the Northeast will get wetter. And from Maine to West Virginia, the region has already seen a larger increase in extreme precipitation than anywhere else in the U.S. Research has shown that heavy rain and snow events — defined as a day with about 2 inches of precipitation or more, have been 53 percent higher in the Northeast since 1996.
What does all of this mean for us? Probably that we should get used to dealing with wetter weather – and more mosquitos. It is a trend that is likely to continue through our lifetime.