2011 a record-breaking year for extreme weather: US

January 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.

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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?).

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