The ground was so dry in some parts of Texas last summer that the tightening clay soils were popping water-main pipes like they were toothpicks, and wildfires skirted Austin as some parts of the state experienced the driest year on record. Hurricane Irene led to Vermont's worst flooding since 1927, and a tornado annihilated Joplin, Missouri. In 2011, the U.S. was hit with 12 natural disasters that caused at least $1 billion in damages. Each. That's, not to mention catastrophic events unfolding elsewhere, i.e. the further loss of sea ice. What's up? Climate change, says a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that was released last month. More precisely: "It is virtually certain that increases in the frequency of warm daily temperature extremes and decreases in cold extremes will occur throughout the 21st century on a global scale."
While it’s been talked about for years, the link between severe weather and climate change is now solidified. The conversation is turning from mitigation to adaptation. Insurance companies are factoring the climate into how—and whether—they offer coverage.
Read more at The Wall Street Journal, NOAA, and NRDC