Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Timeline of Extreme Weather Events Aligns with Scientists' Predictions of a Warmer Planet

Climate

World Resources Institute

By Kelly Levin

Over the past several months, extreme weather and climate events in the form of heat waves, droughts, fires and flooding have seemed to become the norm rather than the exception. In the past half-year alone, millions of people have been affected across the globe–from Europe suffering from the worst cold snap in a quarter century; to extreme flooding in Australia, Brazil, China and the Philippines; to drought in the Sahel. Records have been broken monthly in the continental United States, with the warmest spring and 12-month period experienced this year and severe fires and drought affecting large swaths of the country.

So how bad has it really been? The World Resources Institute has put together a timeline of extreme climate and weather events in 2012. This is not a comprehensive listing of every event, but an attempt to compile the most significant events of the year.

The Climate Change Connection

Many people are asking whether climate change can explain the recent spate of extreme events. While the timeline is not an attempt to perform analysis connecting any of these events to climate change, many of these occurrences are in line with what scientists have predicted in a warmer world. Plus, the science of attributing extreme events to human-induced warming has improved significantly. This evolving science is documented on the timeline as well.

It’s too early to tell how the rest of the year will take shape, and it’s true that every year is marked by floods, droughts, heat waves and other extreme events. However, these past months are unusual in that numerous records have been broken around the world.

What we do know is that many extreme events will increase in severity and intensity if we continue on our carbon-intensive pathway. While it’s too late to reverse the course of past extreme events, there is much we can do–and must do–if we are to stop fueling the intensity and severity of our changing climate.

Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.

--------

Kelly Levin is a senior associate with World Resource Institute’s major emerging economies objective. She leads World Resource Institute’s Measurement and Performance Tracking Project, which builds capacity in developing countries to create and enhance systems that track emissions and emissions reductions associated with climate and energy policies and low-carbon development goals.

The timeline was created with assistance from Hilary Ross, World Resource Institute's Communications Coordinator.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pangolin hunting for ants. 2630ben / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Alexander Richard Braczkowski, Christopher O'Bryan, Duan Biggs, and Raymond Jansen

Pangolins are one of the most illegally trafficked animals on the planet and are suspected to be linked to the current coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Humpback whale splashing in the North West Atlantic Ocean, Massachusetts. Tim Graham / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

In a move that environmentalists warned could further imperil hundreds of endangered species and a protected habitat for the sake of profit, President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation rolling back an Obama-era order and opening nearly 5,000 square miles off the coast of New England to commercial fishing.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a healthy way to incorporate vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants into your diet.

Read More Show Less
These 19 organizations and individuals represent a small portion of the efforts underway to fight racism and inequality and to build stronger Black communities and food systems. rez-art / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg

Following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, people around the United States are protesting racism, police brutality, inequality, and violence in their own communities. No matter your political affiliation, the violence by multiple police departments in this country is unacceptable.

Read More Show Less
Residents plant mangroves on the coast of West Aceh District in Indonesia on Feb. 21, 2020. Mangroves play a crucial role in stabilizing the coastline, providing protection from storms, waves and tidal erosion. Dekyon Eon / Opn Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mangroves play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are tremendous assets in the fight to stem the climate crisis. They store more carbon than a rainforest of the same size.

Read More Show Less
UN World Oceans Day is usually an invite-only affair at the UN headquarters in New York, but this year anyone can join in by following the live stream on the UNWOD website from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. https://unworldoceansday.org/

Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?

Read More Show Less

Trending

Cryptococcus yeasts (pictured), including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas

From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.

Read More Show Less