BOSTON (CBS) – When it rains, it pours. That has become particularly true as the climate warms up.
Why is that the case? A warmer planet has the ability to hold more water vapor in the air. We have indeed detected a steady increase in dew points here in the Northeast over time. When it rains, it rains a lot. And the same is true for snow!
Much like the temperature story, the 2010s featured many rain and snow extremes. We had the wettest overall month, the wettest spring, and wettest fall. Plus, the third, sixth, and seventh wettest years on record and the wettest ever on record across the state of Massachusetts in 2018.
It’s not limited to rain. The 2010s were our snowiest decade on record, including the snowiest winter in 2014-15. It featured the snowiest February, and the snowiest October with a freak storm that hit in 2011.
It may sound counterintuitive, but our climate it still plenty cold enough for big snowfall. A warming ocean may actually help increase the strength and moisture available to our signature storms, nor’easters. While we had the snowiest decade, we also had first and second warmest Decembers, Februarys, and winter seasons.
All this precipitation means an increasing need to find paths for water. Research shows permeability of the ground has gone down due to construction and paving, which increases flow in big rivers like the Charles during heavy rainfall. In the future, climatologists expect more water from both the sky and the ocean as the air and oceans continue to warm.