The following comes from Anita Davis of the Earth to Sky Interagency Partnership at NASA:
You may have noticed that there has been a fair amount of attention given to climate in 2012. Much of it has been because of the release of NOAA’s annual State of the Climate report, and the linkages that are being made between extreme weather events of 2011 and climate. The State of the Climate is always reported in a special supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Association. What’s new this year is a complementary journal article that seems to be drawing a lot of attention.
You can access the entire pdf of the State of the Climate here
NOAA has also done a nice job of summarizing the report in a series of short easily accessible articles and interactives at
The complementary article, Explaining Extreme Events of 2011 from a Climate Perspective has been published by the American Meteorological Association, in the July 2012 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The paper was produced by NOAA and UK Met Offices scientists, as well as numerous colleagues around the world. In it the authors examine six extreme weather events worldwide and discuss the relationship of climate change (vs. natural variability) to the events. To download the article go to
Here’s their major Findings:
- Determining the causes of extreme events remains difficult. While scientists cannot trace specific events to climate change with absolute certainty, new and continued research help scientists understand how the probability of extreme events change in response to global warming.
- La Niña-related heat waves, like that experienced in Texas in 2011, are now 20 times more likely to occur during La Niña years today than La Niña years fifty years ago.
- The UK experienced a very warm November 2011 and a very cold December 2010. In analyzing these two very different events, UK scientists uncovered interesting changes in the odds. Cold Decembers are now half as likely to occur now versus fifty years ago, whereas warm Novembers are now 62 times more likely.
- Climate change cannot be shown to have played any role in the 2011 floods on the Chao Phraya River that flooded Bangkok, Thailand. Although the flooding was unprecedented, the amount of rain that fell in the river “catchment” area was not very unusual. Other factors, such as changes in reservoir policies and increased construction on the flood plain, were found most relevant in setting the scale of the disaster.
If you are curious about how the press addressed all this, here are a few links to get you started:
ABC News led with a report interviewing Heidi Cullen and ended with their
weather editor, Sam Champion, calling for reductions in GHGs (you may need to scroll through the list of available stories)
CBS News - NOAA
links extreme weather to climate change
18563_162-57469878/noaa-links- extreme-weather-to-climate- change/?tag= showDoorFlexGridRight; flexGridModule
NY Times Article
07/11/science/earth/global- warming-makes-heat-waves-more- likely-study-finds.html?ref= science