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:

PBS NewsHour

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) 

links extreme weather to climate change;flexGridModule

NY Times Article
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