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Midstate's heavy summer rainfall in line with climate predictions

Written by Marie Cusick | Sep 6, 2018 1:50 PM
Flooding on road

(Harrisburg)-- The large amounts of rainfall seen in the midstate this summer are in line with climate scientists' predictions for what the region will see as global temperatures continue to rise.

Richard Clark, Chair of the Department of Earth Sciences and Professor of Meteorology at Millersville University, says it's impossible to attribute a single weather event--or this summer's particularly wet weather--to climate change.

However, global climate models predict more precipitation for the region as the warming continues.

"The climate models--which have shown themselves to be fairly robust and reliable estimates of climate trends--seem to show that we could experience more of this in the future," he said. "We're looking at a slightly wetter Mid-Atlantic region. That increased precipitation will not come as more storms but as more precipitation per storm." 

The Northeastern U.S. is the fastest-warming region of the lower 48 states.Over the last 30 years, the eastern half of the Pennsylvania has seen its average daily temperature rise about two degrees Fahrenheit, according to data from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration analyzed by The Associated Press earlier this summer.

The Northeast is projected to warm by about 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit by mid-century.

Although it has a relatively small share of the global population, Pennsylvania is an energy powerhouse and a major contributor of climate-warming greenhouse gases. It is the third-largest carbon emitter among states (after Texas and California) according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. 

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