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Is Extreme the New Norm? [AUDIO]

Bad Weather
Flickr User Ramon de Blok

We’ve seen extreme weather patterns in New Jersey over the past couple of years and it doesn’t look like there’s a change on the horizon. In fact, State Climatologist David Robinson believes the energized climate pattern could result in a new normal.

“It’s like the climate system is on steroids,” said Robinson. “It’s a warm climate system which allows it to be wetter in some respects and we’ve been getting pummeled.” As a result of the August hurricane and tropical storm that followed combined with the unprecedented snowfall in October, New Jersey had already broken its annual rainfall record by the end of November.

“Now, here we are in December and we’ve been seeing unseasonably high temperatures for the month already,” said Robinson. “Eighteen of the last twenty one months have been above normal in New Jersey and a good number of those warm months have been in the top ten going back well over a century of records.”

“So, it’s coming to a point where we have to question our normals. But, it’s not only about normals. When your normals shift, so do your extremes,” said Robinson. “I think because of this, we’ll start to see more extremes in the future. By that, I mean a flood that might happen every fifty years, we might start to see every ten years.”

“But, given the nature of extremes, they’re rare by definition and therefore, you need an extended period of time to make heads or tails over why they’re occuring. It just may be we’re starting to see new normals and new extremes and as we go through this century, we’re likely going to have to get used to it,” Robinson said.


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