2011 a record-breaking year for extreme weather: US

Jan 19, 2012
A man walks down a New York street as Hurricane Irene hits the city, in August 2011. Last year broke records for extreme weather in the United States, with 14 events each causing at least a billion dollars in damage, US authorities said on Thursday.

Last year broke records for extreme weather in the United States, with 14 events each causing at least a billion dollars in damage, US authorities said on Thursday.

Also, 2011 marked 35 years in a row that have been warmer than average, according to data released by the .

The NOAA report added two events to the previous toll of 12 disasters last year that cost a billion dollars or more -- Tropical Storm Lee which assailed the Gulf Coast in September and a spate of tornadoes, hail and high wind that hit the Midwest in July.

"Together, these two events resulted in the loss of 23 lives," it said -- 21 from Tropical Storm Lee and two from the Rockies/Midwest outbreak.

Separately, the NASA announced that 2011 was the ninth warmest year on record since 1880 in global average surface temperature, with nine of the 10 warmest years in history taking place since 2000.

Despite the ocean-cooling influence of the known as La Nina in the Pacific, the average global temperature last year was 0.92 degrees F (0.51 C) warmer than the mid-20th century baseline.

"We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting," said NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies director James Hansen.

"So we are continuing to see a trend toward higher temperatures. Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Nina influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the 10 warmest years on record."

Hansen said that with the anticipated return of El Nino and a coming increase in solar activity, temperatures are likely to peak further in the coming years.

"It's always dangerous to make predictions about El Nino, but it's safe to say we'll see one in the next three years," Hansen said. "It won't take a very strong to push temperatures above 2010," which tied with 2005 as the on record.

Explore further: Current residential development research is a poor foundation for sustainable development

Related Stories

2008 Was Earth's Coolest Year Since 2000

Feb 23, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Climatologists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City have found that 2008 was the coolest year since 2000. The GISS analysis also showed that 2008 is the ...

2007 was tied as Earth's second warmest year

Jan 16, 2008

Climatologists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City have found that 2007 tied with 1998 for Earth’s second warmest year in a century.

U.N. meteorologist predicts cooler summer

Apr 04, 2008

A U.N. meteorologist says the cooling effect of the La Nina current in the Pacific will likely mean slightly lower temperatures across the world this year.

June Earth's hottest ever: US monitors

Jul 15, 2010

Last month was the hottest June ever recorded on Earth, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday, amid global climate warming worries.

Recommended for you

Study provides detailed projections of coral bleaching

2 hours ago

While research shows that nearly all coral reef locations in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico will experience bleaching by mid-century, a new study showing in detail when and where bleaching will occur shows ...

Germany restricts fracking but doesn't ban it

8 hours ago

The German cabinet drew up rules Wednesday on the hitherto unregulated technology of "fracking" in Germany, narrowly restricting its use, but stopping short of an outright ban.

Life in the poisonous breath of sleeping volcanos

8 hours ago

Researchers of the University Jena analyze the microbial community in volcanically active soils. In a mofette close to the Czech river Plesná in north-western Bohemia, the team around Prof. Dr. Kirsten Küsel ...

Eggs and chicken instead of beef reap major climate gains

9 hours ago

Beef on our plates is one of the biggest climate villains, but that does not mean we have to adopt a vegan diet to reach climate goals. Research results from Chalmers University of Technology show that adopting ...

User comments : 6

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (1) Jan 19, 2012
Hmmm, 2010 was also a record breaking year for disasters, according to the insurance companies http://www.greenf...in-2010/ I'd place strong odds on a busy year in 2012 too.
1.6 / 5 (19) Jan 19, 2012
The measure is cost of damages?
With inflation and population growth this will rise.
1936 was a pretty extreme year for many.
1.4 / 5 (18) Jan 19, 2012
"Friday was the first time in history that three consecutive 100 degree days had been recorded in Detroit. It reached 101."
"The weather mechanics that produced the intense heat and drought of the '30s are still a puzzle to climatologists. There have been other such cycles since then, but never one so widespread or so intense. Or so deadly. "
This story appeared in The Detroit News on July 6, 1986.
4.5 / 5 (17) Jan 19, 2012
The measure is in the number of bad storms/area. One rather interesting factoid is the strong storms tend to appear on Weds and less so during the weekends (from another Physorg article).
That was attributed to there being more soot and pollution from the west-coast during the firsts days of the work-week.

1.3 / 5 (16) Jan 20, 2012
Interesting that Pysorg would publish this without NOAA's own disclaimer. For a more rigorous appraisal of this please read http://rogerpielk...ers.html
4.7 / 5 (14) Jan 20, 2012
Don't worry. This year there will be more billion dollar disasters to contend with. That is the way the weather has been lately (or have you not noticed?).

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.