ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – This past summer the Capital Region reached the third wettest summer on record. According to experts, extreme rainfall events are happening more frequently and there’s a clear connection to climate change.
Researchers said the trend stretches back decades and shows the most significant increase in rainfall in the Northeastern U.S.
Nestled within UAlbany’s Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences is the most high-end, comprehensive weather monitoring systems in the nation.
The New York State Mesonet Operations Center produces real-time data on weather events, which helps the state coordinate emergency responses. June Wang is the program manager.
“During the lifetime of the Mesonet we’ve seen more and more of those extreme events and that’s why we have this network,” said Wang.
She said there were many factors that motivated the state to invest in the system.
“New York State is the one most vulnerable, in terms of economically, to the weather events,” said Wang.
Past studies have shown the state is the most sensitive to weather and that concerns Nick Bassil. He is the director of research and development at UAlbany’s Center of Excellence in Weather & Climate Analytics and said extreme rainfall is becoming more frequent.
“The New York State and the Northeast in general is one of the spots that is both observing an increase frequency and extreme rainfall but also projected to be the most vulnerable as we go forward decade by decade, maybe 100 years even, to seeing that big increase in that frequency,” said Bassil.
Both Wang and Bassil said it’s necessary to provide accurate data to the federal government when asking for FEMA relief.
“It’s so comprehensive for a couple different reasons. When we had storms like Irene and Sandy there were large parts of the state where we had very little information about what happened there weather-wise. Just really basic things like how much rainfall in Irene? We didn’t necessarily know that,” said Bassil.
He said models predict these extreme rainfall trends will continue and worsen.
“Absolutely it concerns me. I have a three-year-old daughter at home and I hate thinking about the fact that I might leave her a worse planet than the one that I live on right now,” said Bassil.