xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Hard rain's going to fall [Editorial]

Often in times like these, there will be discussion about how much rainfall at this time of year is normal. It's a bit of a misnomer as "normal" really doesn't come into play in terms of the analysis of precipitation.

To date, this has been a particularly wet year, coming in the aftermath of a particularly harsh winter.

Advertisement

Strictly speaking, however, such things are normal. Going back a few years, there were several rather dry summers, which prompted an official re-evaluation of the ability of Winters Run as a municipal water source to sustain new development.

Now, as construction on a new Winters Run reservoir is poised to begin, the creek could probably support substantially more water users than at any time in the past several years.

Advertisement
Advertisement

While we human beings are predisposed to think in terms of what is normal and what is out of the ordinary, the reality is normal is a rather wide range when it comes to weather.

In these parts, about 40 inches of liquid precipitation is what falls on average over the years. While that translates, at least casually speaking, into 40 inches of rain being normal, the reality is there are dry years and wet years. There have been more than a few years when the average hasn't been met. This is something sometimes referred to as a precipitation deficit, but as a practical matter, nature doesn't schedule the region for 40 inches of rain a year. It just happens to work out that way when the amount of rain that falls annually is averaged over time.

The point here isn't so much that the rather large amounts of rain that have fallen this year are an indication of anything more massive like the much discussed matter of climate change. Over the more than 100 years weather records have been kept for this part of the world, there have been dry years and wet years.

Evidence for climate change will come not when there's an unusually wet or dry year, but rather when the long-term average is nudged up or down. Of course, this business of averages going up and down also applies to average temperatures, and the evidence on this front has been rather conspicuous in supporting the idea that something is awry with the environment, and that is a disturbing thought.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement