MADISON, Wis. — Recent data from the National Centers for Environmental Information says Wisconsin’s average rainfall this summer is among the highest ever.
About 16 inches of rain fell statewide from June to August, which is about 4 inches above average Wisconsin Public Radio (http://bit.ly/2cPkeJi ) reports. State Climatology Office director John Young says that makes this summer the fourth wettest on record. The state’s wettest summer ever was in 2010, when the average rainfall was about 7.5 inches.
The national center compared this year’s summer data to the 20th century average, which are averages from the years from 1901 to 2000.
The northern part of the state experienced heavy flooding this summer that caused millions of dollars in damage.
Young, who is also a professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department, attributes the increase in heavy rains to an increase in humidity.
“We are seeing a trend upward in humidity and when you get very humid air masses becoming more common in the summertime, it’s almost certain that somewhere in the region there’s going to be a tendency to have more heavy rains,” Young said.
But he said each year has its own unique climate conditions and isn’t always representative of climate change.
“I’m not going to diminish the importance of weather, but don’t mistake one weather event for a climate event,” Young said. “You cannot blame every strong storm on climate.”
He says the state may experience more major flooding since wetter summers are expected to happen more often. According to Young, increases in rain are expected to happen slowly over time and not every year.
Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org