Concern For Warm December Days

By Kelly McCarthy

December 4, 2012 Updated Dec 5, 2012 at 11:42 AM EDT

Ithaca, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Did you feel how warm it was on Tuesday, considering it's December?

Action News visits the Northeast Regional Climate Center with a question.

Will the standard for normal winter weather change?

A global issue that can be spotted right here in the Northeast.

"One thing that really sticks out is extreme rainfall events, days where get one or two or more inches of rainfall have really increased," said Art DeGaetano, Director of the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

Sound familiar?

With Hurricane Irene last year and Superstorm Sandy this year, the rising global temperatures are setting the stage for devastating storms.

"I think a storm like Sandy is a good indication of the type of impacts we're going to face under climate change, even with storms that weren't as strong as Sandy," said DeGaetano.

Climate change causes rising sea levels and warm ocean water.

"Not to say that it's not going to snow anymore in upstate New York but we'll see more and more winter events that will bring rainfall rather than snow," said DeGaetano.

This brings warm winter days that most people see as a blessing.

"Definitely just grateful for an opportunity to go outside, to wear some shorts," said Michael Sugihara, a Cornell University senior.

"When you see that it's going to be like 60 degrees in December it's definitely surprising but it's definitely one you enjoy," said Julia Krauss, a Cornell University senior.

The perfect day for Frisbee.

A day to leave all jackets at home and even shoes are optional.

"Can't deny I love days like these but I mean yea it's obvious that there's something going on, this isn't natural for December," said Noemi Plaza, a Cornell University sophomore.

"I think we have to look beyond just a nice warm day in winter kind of like we're having today and look at the broader impacts," adds DeGaetano.

That comes paired with higher temperatures in a region known for its snowfall.

"Short term, enjoy today, but it is a concern, it is an issue that I think people should be talking about," said Sugihara.

An issue these students are saving for a rainy day.

The Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University researches weather patterns and links to current events.

A member is presenting the findings on climate change in Qatar as part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference.