New Report on Climate Change Says Wilder Weather is Headed Our Way

A new report by some the world’s top researchers confirms that climate change will make the extreme weather we’ve seen recently even worse in the future.

The report was released today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It synthesizes two years work from 100 experts who analyze data from all over the world.

Their conclusion: climate change is bringing us more extreme weather, and it’s likely to get worse and have greater negative impacts over the next century.

Here’s what EDF’s Chief Scientist, Steve Hamburg, had to say today:

We’ve all been experiencing these dangerous storms and heat waves, and this report provides strong evidence of the links between impacts of dangerous weather and climate change. Now we need to start using this data to find ways to protect ourselves and our communities.

Here are some of the highlights of the report – or lowlights as the case may be:

Here in the United States, we’re likely to see

  • Higher temperatures and more hot days through the next century (Record-breaking heat that would have been a once-in-20-year high are likely to become a one-in-two-year event)
  • More frequent and heavier rains, especially in winter
  • Stronger hurricanes that will do more damage
  • Increased droughts, especially in the center of the country
  • Higher sea levels, which means more coastal erosion and other damage
  • All these changes will affect our agriculture, water supplies, health – even tourism. And all that, in turn, will affect our economy.

That’s more bad news on top of an extremely unpleasant year of bad weather. America suffered through a number of extreme weather events, including these compiled by Climate Central:

  • The Groundhog Day Blizzard blanketed 22 states and crippled travel. The deadly blizzard was one of Chicago’s top five snowstorms on record.
  • Some of the worst flooding in history hit us in the spring, from the Upper Midwest all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. More than three times the normal spring rainfall caused the Ohio, Missouri, and Mississippi Rivers to overflow. Flooding in Minot, North Dakota damaged 4,000 homes and forced 11,000 to evacuate. More than a million acres of farmland flooded in Missouri and Arkansas.
  • Hurricane Irene became the first hurricane to make landfall in New Jersey in 100 years, and inundated people from Virginia all the way north to Vermont. Tropical Storm Lee following right behind Irene. Their combined rainfalls led to damaging floods in the East.
  • Record-setting rainfalls were recorded across the country. August 2011 was the all-time rainiest month in New York City, Newark and Philadelphia; 2011 will be the rainiest year ever in Cleveland, Scranton, Binghamton and Harrisburg. 14 places in Wyoming and Montana set precipitation records in May, and seven places set new all-time records for the single rainiest day ever.
  • Deadly tornado outbreaks caused damage across the Southeast. 748 twisters touched down across the South in April, the most ever recorded in a single month. The EF-5 tornado that destroyed Joplin, Missouri was America’s deadliest single tornado since modern record-keeping started in 1950.
  • Extreme heat across the region had people sweltering. Texas had the hottest summer for any state in U.S. history, going back to when modern records were first kept in 1895. New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado had their hottest summers on record — as did Tallahassee, Florida and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Wichita Falls, Texas had 100 days when the temperature was more than 100 degrees; Austin had 67 days over 100 degrees. Washington D.C. hit an all-time record high of 105 degrees on July 22.
  • Severe droughts caused massive damage in the Southwest. Texas had the worst one-year drought on record.
  • Wildfires — which are linked to droughts –burned across the West. 3.5 million acres burned in Texas — the state’s worst wildfire season ever. 156,000 acres burned in New Mexico and 538,000 in Arizona.
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  1. Rebecca Wright
    Posted November 18, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    You wrote down that Joplin, Mississippi was destroyed by a tornado, but actually, it was Missouri..If you are going to blog environmental facts, please keep them accurate..

  2. Becky
    Posted November 19, 2011 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    along with Texas, Oklahoma had record setting heat & drought conditions & deadley storms as well. People always forget about the sooner state.

  3. Posted November 19, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I live in the Bahamas and was involved in a film just released called “Islands of Life” for the Bahamas National Trust it’s an ecology film that is beautiful and informative which we’d like to get to the public as it raises funds for the Bahamas National Trust, a natural land and sea part conservatory protecting our country’s most valuable asset. My father Sidney Poitier has done an intro for the film to be used only for promotional and educational purposes. I would like to show this film to all the school children in the Bahamas followed up with a recycling program for them to start being the future stewards of this planet. I am looking for partners in this venture such as the cruise lines, cargo shipping companies, hotels and waste management companies and recycling companies in the US we can send/sell our waste to. We would like to partner with the Island School in Eleuthra, a totally green school for teenagers from all over the globe how to live a sustainable life and could help with the recycling program. The adults in the Bahamas are slow to move on this extremely urgent matter and I believe that the children will be the leaders and teach their parents. If there is any organizations that could help us set-up this movement in the Bahamas which has the 3rd largest barrier reef in the world, the first sea park in the world and a very popular tourist destination close to the United States. We need to teach the young so they can teach the adults and protect our home, planet Earth.

  4. Posted November 22, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    If hurricanes and tsunamis are getting stronger, Japan is in for one hell of a decade.