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Northeast on Track for More Hurricanes this Season

Experts are forecasting an "above average" year when it comes to the hurricane season.
Experts are forecasting an "above average" year when it comes to the hurricane season.
June 6, 2013

CONCORD, N.H. - Experts are forecasting an "above average" year when it comes to hurricanes. They also say global warming makes the outlook in years ahead troubling. However, they add, there is still time to slow the current trend toward more severe weather.

Juliette Rooney-Varga, director, Climate Change Initiative, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, said the Granite State is likely to see more intense storm impacts. That is because tropical storms and hurricanes will be adding intense rainfall to the state's coastline, which has already experienced a rise in sea level, she said.

"So far, we've seen roughly a foot of sea-level rise in the Northeast in general, and that's much more than the global average, which is about eight inches," Rooney-Varga said.

The Atlantic coast has been busy, with 19 named storms during the last three hurricane seasons. The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted 13 to 20 named storms this season, with as many as six major hurricanes.

Most scientists blame global warming for the trend to more intense storms. Among them is Dr. Michael Mann, distinguished professor at Penn State University and author of "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars." He said the trend looks bad for New Hampshire and the Atlantic states, but it is not irreversible.

"We're only going to see more Sandys and more Katrinas and more Irenes if we continue with business as usual," he said.
"But the good news is, there's time to stem the tide, so we at least slow down the rate of sea-level rise and the rate of warming of the ocean and the intensification of these storms."

Some New Hampshire communities may need to make adaptive changes, Mann added, such as moving people away from the coastline.

President Obama has pledged to finalize an EPA Carbon Pollution Standard for industrial power plants, which are a primary source of carbon emissions linked to climate change. Environmental groups are calling on the President to make good on his pledge.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH