Thursday, April 1, 2010

Extreme Rain due to Climate Change

To follow up a bit on my last post, we should be clear about the cause of the torrential rainstorms that southeast New England just suffered through: the scientists say it was due to climate change. To wit, here's Dr. Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, talking on NPR:
Mr. TRENBERTH: The fact that the oceans are warmer now than they were, say, 30 years ago, means there’s about, on average, 4 percent more water vapor lurking around over the oceans than there was, say, in the 1970s.
JOYCE: Warmer water means more water vapor rises up into the air. And what goes up, must come down.
Mr. TRENBERTH: So one of the consequences of a warming ocean near a coastline like the East Coast and Washington, D.C., for instance, is that you can get dumped on with more snow, partly as a consequence of global warming.

Climate Progress has an extensive post detailing how extreme this weather event was, especially in Rhode Island. It's staggering:
Record rains from a slow-moving and extremely wet Nor’easter have triggered historic flooding in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts, with several rivers exceeding their 100-year flood levels. The 16.32″ of rain that has fallen on Providence, Rhode Island this month is the most rain recorded in any month, besting the previous record of 15.38″ set in October 2005. ... The Rhode Island all-time state record for heaviest precipitation in a month was smashed as well, thanks to the 19.62″ observed this March at North Kingstown. The old state record was 16.70″, set at North Foster in October 2005. Many locations in the Northeast recorded their wettest March ever, including New York City and Boston.

This is not the time to live in denial. Climate Change is real and it will continue to affect us all.

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