Extreme Events


Abnormal and Catastrophic 2017 Hurricane Season Finally Over

, senior climate scientist

The official end of the 2017 North Atlantic hurricane season, November 30th, has finally arrived.  This year’s season was not normal. Read more >

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Photo: USDA-ARS/Scott Bauer

Northern Plains Drought Shows (Again) that Failing to Plan for Disasters = Planning to Fail

, Kendall Science Fellow

As the dog days of summer wear on, the northern plains are really feeling the heat. Hot, dry weather has quickly turned into the nation’s worst current drought in Montana and the Dakotas, and drought conditions are slowly creeping south and east into the heart of the Corn Belt. Another year and another drought presents yet another opportunity to consider how smart public policies could make farmers and rural communities more resilient to these recurring events. Read more >

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Empty water hole caused by drought.
Empty water holes caused by the drought on Walnut Creek Ranch in CA in 2014. Photo: Cynthia Mendoza, USDA/CC BY 2.0-Flickr

Preparing for Severe Climate Events: a Q+A with Drought Experts

, Kendall Science Fellow

In the most recent days and weeks when stories of floods and hurricanes have dominated the news, it might be easy to miss that 44% of the country is experiencing drought conditions. I am not a meteorologist—just an agricultural scientist obsessed with the weather—so I often wonder what happens in the weather room when there is a severe event, like a hurricane or tornado. Is it total chaos? Flashing lights and buzzing alarms? What about severe climate events that last longer than a few hours, such as drought? Read more >

Photo: Cynthia Mendoza, USDA/CC-BY-2.0, Flickr
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Flooding, Extreme Weather, and Record Temperatures: How Global Warming Puts it All Together

, climate scientist

Even though Louisiana is not among the areas that has seen the most increase in heavy precipitation events, the Southeastern US has seen an increase of 27 percent from 1958 to 2012. The straightforward explanation for heavier downpours is that warmer air can contain more water vapor than cooler air. Indeed, global measurements show that there is more water vapor in the air now. It follows that there is more water to come down when it rains. Read more >

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U.S. Braced for Historic Inland Flooding and Coastal Storm Surge Even As Joaquin Blew Out to Sea

, senior climate scientist

Hurricane Joaquin, while a category 4, unleashed torrential rain over the Bahamas, uprooting trees, disrupting power and ripping rooftops. Joaquin lingered in the tropics, shedding vast amounts of moisture that became part of a complex mix of weather systems in the eastern U.S., creating soggy conditions even before Joaquin shifted northeastward from the tropics offshore of the U.S., giving a one-two punch for the eastern states. Punch one was life-threatening inland flooding, and punch two was storm surge along coastal areas. Read more >

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