University of Delaware
delware environmental institute

DNREC: Delaware Climate Report predicts increasing temperatures, heavy precipitation

A new statewide report produced at the direction of DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara and DNREC’s Division of Energy and Climate, “Climate Change Projections and Indicators for Delaware,” projects increasing temperatures, more extreme heat days, and more frequent heavy rain events through the year 2100. This analysis of Delaware’s changing climate was conducted by Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, one of the nation’s leading atmospheric scientists. Dr. Hayhoe’s future projections for temperature and precipitation in Delaware are consistent with climate projections for much of the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.

“Dr. Hayhoe’s climate report is part of an effort to bring together the best available science in order to better understand specific, anticipated climate change impacts to Delaware citizens, communities, and resources,” said Secretary O’Mara. “This solid science will be the foundation on which we will base actions that will make our communities statewide more resilient and prepared for climate impacts.”

“Climate change is no longer a distant problem in space or time: it is affecting us, right now, in the places where we live. Delaware is no exception; increasing temperatures, more frequent high temperatures and precipitation extremes, and rising sea levels affect the economy and the state’s natural resources,” said Dr. Hayhoe. “Planning for a sustainable future means that we need to take these trends into account. This report tells us what the future climate of Delaware will look like, depending on whether the world follows a higher or lower carbon emissions pathway.”

Delaware has already experienced increasing temperatures, according to Delaware State Climatologist Dr. Daniel Leathers. His analysis of data from long-term weather stations across the state saw an increase of 0.2˚F per decade – or roughly 2˚F over the past century – in annual and seasonal temperatures.

"Delaware has a comprehensive record of environmental data dating back to 1895, and that has grown greatly with the development of the Delaware Environmental Observing System," said Dr. Leathers, who also serves as professor of geography in UD's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. "This valuable information allows us to make science-based analyses of past trends and to monitor Delaware’s climate now and into the future.”