Last year saw an unusually hot, dry spring in western Europe; record rainfall in Australia, Japan and Korea; and record drought in China's Yangtze Basin.
The United States recorded an all-time-high 14 natural disasters that each caused $1 billion or more in damage -- a roll call of extreme weather that includes wildfires in the Southwest, several tornado outbreaks in the Midwest and Southeast, flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, drought in Texas and other southern Plains states, Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and a blizzard.
And the new research comes as much of the United States is experiencing unusual warmth, prompting an early start to the blooms and buzzing of spring in many areas.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recorded more than 4,300 record high temperatures from March 9 to 19. The agency's weather forecasters said last week that they expect the unseasonal warmth to continue through June, accompanied by dry conditions in much of the southern half of the country.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500