Did you know that 2018 marked the wettest year on record in New Jersey since record-keeping began in 1895? New Jersey received more than 64 inches of precipitation last year, a whopping 18 inches higher than normal. According to State Climatologist David A. Robinson, the record was accomplished by higher-than-average precipitation in ten months last year and above-average temperatures in eight months. The first month of 2019 has not been any different, with multiple large rainstorms.
As the climate warms, scientists predict that in the Northeastern United States and many other regions, precipitation will also increase because a warmer atmosphere creates more evaporation. Climatologists also say that precipitation is happening in bigger downpours. In the United States, this phenomenon that has been most pronounced in the Northeast, where the amount of precipitation falling in the heaviest events has increased by fifty-five percent since the late 1950s.
Of course, in other regions such as the West, Southwest, and Southeast United States, precipitation has declined.
As our climate continues to warm we have to ask: How much rain is too much rain?
Increased precipitation is troubling for many developed areas, particularly urban centers where impervious surfaces outnumber our naturally absorbing green spaces. Heavy rainfall can cause flooding, sweep pollutants into waterways, and in many cases, overload sewer and wastewater treatment facilities. Too much rain can also be problematic for our natural landscape – limiting growth in flood-prone areas and increasing erosion. Too much rain is also hard on transportation infrastructure and water treatment. So what can be done about it?[/vc_column_text]As climate change results in more rainfall, green infrastructure helps solve some of the problems experienced in urban and suburban environments.
We need to improve our national, state, and local laws so that green infrastructure measures to mitigate polluted runoff are required when areas are developed or re-developed.
The Watershed Institute is also supporting the creation of new utilities changed with addressing this problem.
As climate change results in more rainfall, green infrastructure helps solve some of the problems experienced in urban and suburban environments. Learn more about how green infrastructure offers solutions to managing heavy rainfalls.