Climate of Pennsylvania

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Worldwide climate classifications

The climate of Pennsylvania is diverse due to the multitude of geographic features found within the state. Straddling two major climate zones, the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania has the warmest climate. Greater Philadelphia lies at the southernmost tip of the Humid continental climate zone, with some characteristics of the Humid subtropical climate that lies in Delaware and Maryland to the south. Moving west toward the mountainous interior of the state, the climate becomes markedly colder, the number of cloudy days increases,[1] and winter snowfall amounts are greater.


Western areas of the state, particularly cities near Lake Erie, can receive over 100 inches (254 cm) of snowfall annually, and the entire state receives an average of 41 inches (1,041 mm) of rainfall every year. Floods are more common in March and April than other months of the year.[2]

Tropical cyclones[edit]

Tropical cyclones normally threaten the states during the summer and fall, with their main impact being rainfall.[3] Although Hurricane Agnes was barely a hurricane at landfall in Florida, its major impact was over the Mid-Atlantic region, where Agnes combined with a non-tropical low to produce widespread rains of 6 inches (150 mm) to 12 inches (300 mm) with local amounts up to 19 inches (480 mm) in western Schuylkill County in Pennsylvania.[4] These rains produced widespread severe flooding from Virginia northward to New York, with other flooding occurring over the western portions of the Carolinas.

Philadelphia has received sustained winds approaching hurricane-force from tropical cyclones in the past.[5]

Government spending related to presumed climate change in Pennsylvania[edit]

Former Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell approved a bill that established a $500 million fund to support renewable energy projects. Special Session House Bill 1 authorizes the Commonwealth Financing Authority to borrow $500 million, most of which will be split into six funding sources relating to energy efficiency and renewable energy: $80 million in grants and loans for solar energy projects; $100 million in grants, loans, and rebates for up to 35% and small businesses; $165 million in grants and loans for alternative energy projects, excluding solar energy, at businesses and local government facilities; $25 million for wind energy and geothermal energy projects; $40 million to help start-up businesses involved in energy efficiency technologies; and $25 million in grants and loans to improve the energy efficiency of new and existing homes and small business buildings. An additional $65 million will go toward pollution control technologies and to help low-income families pay their energy bills.

In addition to the $500 million fund, the bill creates a Consumer Energy Program that is funded at $15 million for the next 3 fiscal years, then gradually decreases to $8 million by the 2015-2016 fiscal year, for a total of $100 million. Of that, $92.5 million will support loans, grants, and rebates for up to 25% of the cost of energy efficiency improvements to homes and small businesses, while $5 million will support low-interest loans for energy efficiency improvements to homes. An additional $50 million will be available over the next 8 years to support tax credits for 15% of the cost of alternative energy projects, capped at $1 million per year for each project.

Governor Rendell also approved two bills on July 10 that relate to biofuels. House Bill 1202 could add as much as 1 billion US gallons (3,800,000 m3) of advanced biofuels to the state's fuel supply. It requires all retail diesel fuel sold in the state to contain 2% biodiesel, once the in-state production of biodiesel reaches 40 million US gallons (150,000 m3) per year, increasing incrementally to a 20% biodiesel requirement, once the in-state production of biodiesel reaches 400 million US gallons (1,500,000 m3) per year (but only if vehicle manufacturers approve the use of 20% biodiesel). Likewise, all retail gasoline sold in the state must contain 10% ethanol, once the in-state production of cellulosic ethanol reaches 350 million US gallons (1,300,000 m3) per year. The state already has a biodiesel production capacity of 60 million US gallons (230,000 m3) per year, so the 2% biodiesel requirement could go into effect soon, if production is high enough. To encourage biodiesel production, Special Session Senate Bill 22 will offer a subsidy of 75 cents per 1-US-gallon (3.8 L) of biodiesel produced, capped at $1.9 million per year for each producer. The bill also expands a hybrid vehicle rebate program to include plug-in hybrids and other alternative fuel vehicles.§.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Pennsylvania State Climatologist. Annual Average Number of Cloudy Days In Pennsylvania. Retrieved on 2008-01-28.
  2. ^ The Pennsylvania State Climatologist. Climate of Pennsylvania. Retrieved on 2008-01-28.
  3. ^ Roth, David M; Weather Prediction Center (2012). "Tropical Cyclone Rainfall in the Mid-Atlantic United States". Tropical Cyclone Rainfall Point Maxima. United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. Retrieved June 23, 2012. 
  4. ^ Roth, David M; Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (November 16, 2012). "Tropical Cyclone Rainfall Point Maxima". Tropical Cyclone Point Maxima. United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. Retrieved December 7, 2012. 
  5. ^ David M. Roth and Hugh D. Cobb III. RE-ANALYSIS OF THE GALE OF '78 - STORM 9 OF THE 1878 HURRICANE SEASON. Retrieved on 2008-03-05.