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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published May 13 2013

Weather Talk: Increase in humidity leads to more heavy snows, rains

Because storm data varies so much over time, it has proven very difficult to quantitatively assess trends in storms as related to our changing climate. A new study in the April issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society relates storms to the atmospheric conditions that produce them, and then quantifies changes in these conditions.

The findings suggest that severe thunderstorms (hail, high winds, tornadoes) have not increased significantly, nor have hurricanes or ice storms. However, the paper did find evidence to suggest there has been a significant increase in the frequency and intensity of storms producing heavy rain and heavy snow.

One observable trend in our changing climate that affects both heavy rain and heavy snow is the increase in humidity, which also has an effect on temperature, particularly at night. Simply stated, the increase in humidity associated with climate change has resulted in warmer nights, more heavy rains and more heavy snows.

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