UMass: Warmer, Wetter Winters Expected by 2070

By 2070, the Northeast is likely to be a much warmer, and wetter, place to live during the winter months.

A new study by government and University of Massachusetts Amherst scientists is the first to use regional climate models to examine likely near term changes to temperature and precipitation patterns in New England. New high resolution models were used in the study.

Between 2041 and 2070, scientists expect significant Northeast warming on the order of 2-3 degrees Celsius. Of all seasons, researchers are most confident that winter will experience the most warming. They also point out that some localized areas, particularly in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Northern Maine, may see warming as high as 3-4 degrees Celsius.

Winter precipitation is also pegged to increase some 12-15% during the winter months, except along the immediate coast where the increase will be slightly less. While more winter precipitation is expected, a warmer environment overall will not necessarily result in more snowfall.

The model used to make these projections assumes that carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase from 400 ppm today, to 500 or 600 ppm by 2070.