New Research Suggests More Late Summer Rain In Fla. Due To Climate Change

Nov 12, 2020

With more than a month-and-a-half left in 2020, Jacksonville has already seen more rainfall than the yearly average and new research suggests that all of Florida will likely see even more rain, particularly during the late summer, as the climate continues to change.

So far this year, nearly 53 inches of rain have fallen in the Jacksonville area, according to National Weather Service data, and the annual mean is less than 52 inches.

Historical data shows that when Atlantic Ocean temperatures are warmer on average, Florida experiences higher rainfall rates in the late summer.

New research from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science shows that the state will likely see growing rainfall amounts in the late summer due to rising ocean temperatures caused by anthropogenic climate change.

“When these ocean temperatures warm up, it means that the air above it warms up and the air above Florida can then hold more water. So when storms come through, whether they are normal afternoon rainstorms or the tropical systems that we've seen come through in the last weekend, we're more likely to get more rain because there's just more moisture in the atmosphere,” explained Jeremy Klavans, lead author of the study.

Late summer is, of course, hurricane season in Florida and Klavan warns if increased rainfall rates coincide with a storm or even normal tidal flooding, it could exacerbate existing flooding issues throughout the state.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.