The Climatic Data Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has released a new analysis of 12 extreme weather events in 2012, and the findings aren’t reassuring. Researchers discovered that sea-level rise caused by climate change has made extreme flooding along the East Coast twice as likely now as it was in 1950.
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Flooding wasn’t the only extreme event associated with climate change. The paper also linked heat waves and some heavy rainfall to high global temperatures. In fact, NOAA says heat waves are now four times more likely to occur than they were in previous years. Rising sea levels may also mean weak storms will do more damage than before.
There is some good news, too — some of the droughts and heavy rains recorded in 2012 appear to be simple results of normal variability in weather patterns. Even the events researchers believe to be strongly connected to climate change were also influenced by natural variations in weather and climate, meaning that extreme weather won’t necessarily get worse across the board.
Lead image © NASA Goddard Space Flight Center