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July

July 17, 2012

U.S. Drought Biggest Since 1956, Climate Agency Says. In its monthly climate report for June 2012 the National Climate Data Center says that 55% of the contiguous United States was in a state of moderate to extreme short-term drought, the largest area in a drought state since 1956. The Lower 48 states, as a whole, experienced the 10th driest June on record, with much of the Mountain West in severe drought conditions. Temperatures were 2.0°F above the 20th century average for the month of June and contributed to the warmest first half of the year, as well as warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since record keeping began in 1895. In addition to extensive wildfires, drought conditions have caused major harm to crop yields across the Midwest which threaten to impact global food supplies and increase prices for consumers.

July 2012

Explaining Extreme Events of 2011 from a Climate Perspective. An article in the July 2012 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society that included researchers from NOAA was issued to help supplement the National Climate Data Center’s annual State of the Climate report and address the relationship between extreme weather events and climate change. Assessing such a relationship in near real-time is a difficult and complex task. The report analyzes six specific extreme weather events in 2011 by placing them in historical context, attempting to quantify the role human factors may have played and calculating the odds that the particular event was caused or influenced by climate change. A novel way of conceptualizing the relationship between extreme weather and climate change, developed with the help of Rutgers Professor and CECI Director Tony Broccoli, is to compare it to baseball and the use of steroids.

July 2012

State of the Climate in 2011. The National Climate Data Center has released its annual State of the Climate report for 2011. The report details global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected around the world through various methods. The lead characteristic of the 2011 climate picture was a double-dip La Niña, which is the cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and usually lowers global average surface temperatures. Despite this, 2011 still ranked near the top of the hottest years on record when taken in historical context and was above the 1981-2010 global average. Notable weather events included the worst flooding in Thailand in 70 years, drought and deadly tornado outbreaks in the United States, devastating flooding in Brazil, an extreme summer heat wave in Central and Southern Europe, an unusually active Atlantic hurricane season, and drought in East Africa.

July 27, 2012.

Higher Sea Level Will Intensify Storm Damage. Over the coming century sea level is predicted to rise anywhere from 1.5 feet to 4 feet as a result of climate change, according to Rutgers professor and CECI Director Tony Broccoli. The degree to which the ocean rises by the end of the century depends on several factors, including how rapidly ice melts in Greenland and Antarctica, whether greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and whether the land is sinking or rising in particular areas. A higher sea level, coupled with the increasing probability of stronger storms as a result of climate change, is predicted to have a major impact on New Jersey. The state can expect more frequent and extensive storm surges, with the potential to cause major damage to developed areas along the coast.

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