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1/18/2013 - Winters to be warmer in the Northeast

Winters in certain areas are expected to be milder in the coming years.

In the latest indication from scientists that climate change is in effect, researchers say that between now and 2040, Northeast winters could be much warmer and bring more rain than high amounts of snow.

According to University of Massachusetts-Amherst climatologists, weather reports over the next 30 years in the New England area will likely forecast mild winters, causing more rainstorms as opposed to heavy snowfall.

Michael Rawlins, a UMass Amherst researcher and one of the co-authors of the study, indicated that he and his colleagues were able to determine this through new high-resolution technology that enables them to get a more accurate picture of what may be in store.

"One of the most important aspects of our study is that we can now examine in more detail what's likely to occur across the region with a grid size of approximately 31 x 31 miles," said Rawlins. "Previous studies used much more coarse-scale general circulation model data. This represents a significant step forward."

The researchers added that the Northeast region will likely see temperatures rise an average of roughly 34-38 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months, a season they say is easier to predict based on the significant difference in weather variability in this part of the country compared to the other seasons.

Temperatures may not be the only weather conditions on the rise in the coming years. Recently, historical climatologist Evelyn Browning Garniss told industry professionals at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America that damaging storms like Hurricane Sandy may become the new normal, potentially leading to an increase in property insurance claims.

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