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Climate Friday | Examining the role of climate change in rainier, wetter springs

In the last decade, a 2-degree increase in average temperature has led to an 8% increase in rainfall in northwest Ohio.

TOLEDO, Ohio — "Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day!" 

You may have said those words to yourself this week. The workweek started with severe storms and ended with soaking rain. Both storm systems dumped torrential rainfall of several inches on the region. 

Has this spring felt wet and rainy to you? If so, you're noticing a trend that scientists have linked to climate change. Rainy weather during the spring season will grow even more common in the future.

Credit: WTOL 11

While global warming's impact on temperatures is no secret, the effect on heavy rainfall is discussed less often. The two are directly related, however. 

Warmer temperatures cause increased evaporation and thus greater precipitation. Think of turning up the temperature on the stove and watching how much faster water boils. In fact, just a 1-degree rise in temperature is associated with a 4% increase in moisture. 

Not surprisingly, this moisture eventually gets dumped out of the clouds in the form of rainfall. Annual rainfall in Toledo has increased 0.77 inches in the last decade alone. This increase has disproportionately affected the spring season. 

Credit: WTOL 11

April and May rainfall has risen a half-inch in the last decade. This new climate data reflecting changes in rainfall and temperature is still hot off the press and was released a year ago in early May 2021. This new data helps us meteorologists inform you about what is normal weather-wise, what is changing, and by how much. 

One change you will continue to notice in the future is wetter weather, especially during the spring months. While summer and fall have grown slightly drier overall, winter and spring have become much wetter. 

This trend will likely continue in the future even if greenhouse gas emissions drop abruptly. 

You can trust the WTOL 11 weather team to keep you updated on any rain and storms headed our way this spring season.

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