Mid-Atlantic
(Photo by Wanda Diane Cole, for Sea Level Rise: Technical Guidance For Dorchester County, a report to the Maryland DNR Coastal Zone Management Division.)

MD - Here’s how increasing rainfall will hit 5 eastern shore towns

Climate change will fuel heavier downpours and deeper floodwaters on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, according to one of the first detailed looks at changing rainfall patterns at the local level in the mid-Atlantic.

Climate change will fuel heavier downpours and deeper floodwaters on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, according to one of the first detailed looks at changing rainfall patterns at the local level in the mid-Atlantic.

The new report, a collaboration between the University of Maryland and Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, estimates rainfall totals and intensity for five towns on the Mid and Upper shores. It predicts that by the 2040s, a 100-year storm will dump an additional 0.5-inch to 1.5-inches of rainfall over 24 hours, depending on the location.

That might not sound like much of a difference. But when it comes to planning for new roads, drainage ditches and other types of infrastructure, it is, said Jim Bass, manager of the conservancy’s coastal resilience program. The rainfall study, funded by a $60,000 grant from the New York-based Rauch Foundation, brings a level of scientific understanding to those communities that many larger cities still don’t have, its backers say.

Climate scientists typically use broad brush strokes when predicting rainfall patterns decades into the future, said Kaye Brubaker, a University of Maryland researcher who co-authored the report. Even with the aid of supercomputers, they can only pin down results to square-shaped blobs with boundary lines stretching more than 30 miles apart.

Brubaker and her team took just such information from the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program and used a statistical process called “downscaling” to make forecasts at a more-precise scale.

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