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Climate Change and Snow

By Matthew Yglesias on February 11, 2010 at 2:34 pm

"Climate Change and Snow"

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Page 240 of the Economic Report of the President begins a discussion of the direct impact of climate change on the United States. In light of the giant blizzards, this part seemed relevant:

Precipitation already has increased an average of 5 percent over the past 50 years, with increases of up to 25 percent in parts of the Northeast and Midwest and decreases of up to 20 percent in parts of the Southeast. In the future, these trends will likely be amplified. The amount of rain falling in the heaviest downpours has increased an average of 20 percent over the past century, a trend that is expected to continue. In addition, Atlantic hurricanes and the strongest cold-season storms in the North are likely to become more powerful.

Obviously if the planet keeps getting warmer and warmer eventually it will be the case that it never gets cold enough in DC for snow to form. But increased winter storm intensity and precipitation volume in the Northeast is one of the predicted consequences of climate change. Eventually that’ll be torrential February rainstorms, but for now it still means blizzards.

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