Our grandparents may like to tell stories about how much worse snowstorms were in their day, but a new report confirms that more recently, rainstorms have definitely gotten heavier and more frequent in the Garden State.
Last week, Environment New Jersey released the report, and in a teleconference, Matt Elliott, Clean Energy Advocate for the organization noted that anecdotes about more and heavier rains in our area are actually borne out by climate research.
“The biggest rainstorms are getting bigger, and the volume is up 22 percent in the amount of precipitation per rainfall,” he explained. “When it does rain, it’s more likely to pour, and New Jersey is having heavy rainstorms 33 percent more frequently.”
The report’s summary also states that:
“The change has also been pronounced in the Mid-Atlantic, the South, the Midwest and the Mountain West. New York, Pennsylvania and Missouri each experienced an increase in extreme downpour frequency of more than 50 percent.
The biggest rainstorms and snowstorms are getting bigger.
Not only are extreme downpours more frequent, but they are also more intense. The total amount of precipitation produced by the largest storm in each year at each station increased by 10 percent over the period of analysis, on average across the contiguous United States.
This trend was most pronounced in New England and the Middle Atlantic. Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont all saw the intensity of the largest storm each year increase by 20 percent or more.
Elliot also noted, “We need to heed scientists’ warnings that this dangerous trend is linked to global warming, and do everything we can to cut carbon pollution today.” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s longstanding opposition to, and recent pull-out from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Elliot said, is an obstacle to the state moving ahead to make changes that could help curb the trend, “eliminating one of New Jersey’s best tools to cut global warming pollution and fund clean energy projects.”