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According to a study, the Northeast can expect a 52% surge in extreme precipitation by the close of the century.


Extreme change in precipitation between 2070-2099 and 1996-2005. Credit: C. Pickard et al.

With a warmer climate creating wetter conditions in the Northeast, extreme precipitation events — defined as about 1.5 inches or more of heavy rain or melted snow in a single day — are projected to increase in the Northeast by 52% by the end of the century , according to a new Dartmouth study.

The results are published in Climate change.

First author Christopher J. Dartmouth.

“Our findings show that this increase in extreme precipitation will be driven primarily by more frequent heavy precipitation events, rather than by the intensity of such events,” Pickard says. “In other words, we expect a large increase in the number of days of extreme precipitation, and a smaller increase in the amount of precipitation for each day of extreme precipitation.”

The results also show that winter and spring contribute most to the projected 52% increase in extreme precipitation in the region by 2070 to 2099, with increases of 109% and 89%, respectively.

during previous searchand senior author Jonathan Winter, an assistant professor of geography and chair of the Applied Hydroclimatology group at Dartmouth, and other collaborators investigated how heavy rainfall events in the Northeast have changed historically. By examining data from 1901 to 2014, they found that there was an almost 50% increase in extreme precipitation from 1996 to 2014, and that this increase is related to climate change.

“Based on our previous work, we were particularly interested in determining how much extreme precipitation is expected to change across the Northeast in the future,” says Winter.

Similar to their other papers, the new study defines the Northeast as Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and Washington, DC.

The Dartmouth study found that extreme increases in precipitation are expected to be largest in West Virginia, parts of Pennsylvania, central New York and northeastern Maine, with smaller increases mostly along the Atlantic coast and southern Lake Ontario.

The researchers applied a regional climate model from the National Center for Atmospheric Research to simulate precipitation for the historical period from 1996 to 2005 and the future period from 2070 to 2099. They then compared their results to simulations of variable heavy precipitation events from other regional climate models, and found that their results are consistent with climate simulation models. The other regional, which predicts increases in extreme precipitation ranging from 58% to 169%.

“Extreme precipitation events can pose threats to life, property, infrastructure and the environment,” says Winter.

Previous research has reported how floods, landslides, and erosion from these events can wash away roads, cause runoff of agricultural pollutants, and harm recreational areas. “So understanding where the flood plain is actually located, having appropriately sized canals or green infrastructure in place, and properly designing roads and bridges are important for managing the excess water that we are likely to encounter in the future,” he says.

more information:
Christopher J. Climate change (2023). DOI: 10.1007/s10584-023-03545-w

Provided by Dartmouth College

the quote: Extreme Precipitation in the Northeast to Increase by 52% by End of Century, Study Predicts (2023, May 30) Retrieved May 30, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-extreme-precfall-northeast- century. html

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