A warmer, wetter Pa.?

July 15, 2009 3:40:27 PM PDT
Warmer temperatures and more rain are forecast for Pennsylvania over the next century in a climate change study from Penn State University. Scientists at the school's Environment and Natural Resources Institute estimate that temperatures in the commonwealth could rise an average of 3 to 7 degrees by century's end. More precipitation is likely, especially in winter, though it's expected to be more rain and less snow.

The severity of changes will depend on greenhouse gas emission levels, said the recently released report for the state Department of Environmental Protection. The study was mandated by state law in 2008.

Global climate changes slowly, so reductions in emissions won't have an immediate impact, said James Shortle, director of the institute and professor of agricultural and environmental economics.

"But changes now will have a large impact on the climate we experience in the second half of this century, and those decisions need to be made today," Shortle said in a statement Wednesday.

More rain and warmer winters could spell trouble for ski resorts. Conversely, the growing season could extend by three to five weeks.

The report said that forests also could change, with conditions potentially becoming more unsuitable for northern hardwoods.

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On the Net:

DEP Climate Change committee site and Penn St. report: http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/energy/cwp/view.asp?a1532&q539829

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