Global climate change

Long-term trends in Northern Hemispheric storms

By Brett Anderson, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
3/26/2018, 3:21:09 PM

Having recently just gone through a stormy period along the East coast with several nor'easters, I thought this would be a good time to look at longer-term storm trends across North America.

Climate change is likely having an impact on the frequency and intensity of storms in the Northern Hemisphere, according to the National Climate Assessment.

According to the report, which was released a few years ago, there has been a significant upward trend in the number of cold-season storms. The report also suggests a projected increase in the frequency of conditions that are conducive for severe thunderstorms.

Image courtesy the National Climate Assessment.

The report found the following....

1. Increase in storm frequency and intensity for North America as a whole since 1950 with storm tracks shifting toward the poles.

2. Snow cover across North America has trended lower, mainly due to higher temperatures.

3. Very snowy winters have decreased in frequency in most regions over the past 10-20 years, although the northeastern United States is seeing a normal number of such winters.

4. Heavier-than-normal snowfalls have recently been observed across the Midwest and northeastern U.S. some years, with little snowfall other years, which is consistent with indications of increased high-latitude blocking, according to the report.

5. In terms of severe thunderstorms, that include tornadoes hail and damaging winds, there has been no statistically significant trends in terms of frequency and intensity.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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Global climate change