New England Is 85 Percent Rainier Than It Was in 1948

Lightning over Brooklyn on October 11, 2010.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/60167034@N00/5073214755/">Arvind Grover</a>/Flickr

We know that droughts in parts of the country have likely been exacerbated by climate change and are expected to get worse in the future. But climate shifts are also causing bigger, badder rainstorms in other parts of the country, according to a new report Environment America released released on Tuesday.

Extreme precipitation events are getting bigger, says the report, which is aptly titled, “When It Rains, It Pours”:

Environment AmericaEnvironment America

And big downpours are also happening more often:

Environment AmericaEnvironment America

To put together the report, Environment America looked at 80 million daily precipitation records in the US dating back to 1948, and found a 30 percent increase in the frequency of extreme rain- and snowstorms. That means that fierce downpours that used to happen once a year or so back around 1948 are now happening every 9 months. This is particularly true in the northeast, as New England saw an 85 percent increase in heavy precipitation and the Mid-Atlantic saw a 55 percent increase. (The authors defined “extreme storms” as “those expected to occur no more than once per year on average at a particular location based on the historical record,” or the 64 highest precipitation totals for a 24-hour period at each weather station.)

The reason is pretty simple: “Warmer temperatures cause more evaporation, and warmer air holds more water, intensifying the water cycle,” they write. 

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.