Extreme weather: Get ready to see more of it, scientists say

Extreme heat, storms, and fires have plagued the month of June, in the United States.  This wasn’t the first time this year however that extreme weather has affected the United States.  Research has shown that this year, the United States has experienced its 12 warmest months since 1895.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration even released a report that deemed 2011 a year of extreme weather.  An easy way to explain this extreme weather is by blaming it all on global warming but scientists cant do this because of the unpredictability of weather.  Chris Field, the founding director of the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution, said, “The real challenge is figuring out whether a particular storm or flood was due to climate change or natural variables.”  There are four classes of extreme weather, high heat, heavy precipitation and floods, duration and intensity of droughts and extremes related to higher sea levels, and according to Field, over the past 50 years, all of these extremes have changed.  Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for Weather Underground pointed out that, “When you’ve got a planet that’s nearest warmest levels on record that doesn’t mean every part of the world is going to be the warmest ever.”  Basically this means that some places may be unluckier than others, like the United States.  Another interesting finding pointed out by this article is that “cold Decembers are now half as likely to occur now versus 50 years ago.”  No wonder winters in the United States span over lesser periods of time and that there has been less snow during the past few winters.  According to the article, 2008 was the hottest year in the United States but 2012, according to Jack Crouch, a climate scientist at the National Climatic Data Center, 2012 is on pace to beat this record.  Hot weather is something that people are going to have to get more and more used to in the United States.

Ben Roberts


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