2012 saw a great number of weather and climate related stories hit the mainstream media. Not only was there a lot of heat, but there was also a TON of rain. 2012 saw some wild weather.
Record heat waves. Melting Ice. Floods. Droughts.
2012’s weather went to some unprecedented places, and lead to a compilation of costly and dangerous disasters.
In Canada, 80 percent of Oysters never made it past the larval stage in hatcheries. This die off is being attributed to ocean acidification, which are being driven by CO2 emissions escalating. An Study in april confirmed the theory. Meanwhile the Arctic Ocean shrank to its smallest point ever: 1.32 million square miles. That’s less than half the area occupied by Ice a mere three decades ago. Greenland also lost ice, when in July a NASA satellite revealed that an Ice sheet, responsibly for covering 80 percent of Greenland has shrunk rapidly.
In 4 days, over 90% of the ice sheet had begun to melt.
The United States saw its share of Flooding and disasters, as warmer oceans and melting arctic ice helped steer hurricanes towards the North East coastline, most notably being Sandy. Rising sea levels made the impact that much more severe. Other parts of the US experienced the opposite, as record temperatures affected 80% of the country. July alone saw 4,420 separate daily records being broken or tied. Wildfires burned almost 9 million acres and rolling thunderstorms cut power lines to 4.2 million american homes.
India’s summer monsoon, which are usually responsible for 3/4 of the country’s rainfall failed to materialize. The lack of water caused a national drought for the country as well as lower levels at hydroelectric damns, causing power outages that left 1.2 billion people in the dark for 2 days in July – the largest blackout in history.
Flooding was also rampant in Africa, where the worst flooding in 40 years displaced 1.4 million people, claimed 431 lives and left 120,000 homeless. May through July saw vast amounts of rain fall on Yunnan province in China. 38 million people were affected by flooding and landslides and 1.3 million were evacuated. The economic losses were thought to be in the $6.2 Billion range, and the flooding damaged 1 million acres of farmland.
Australia also saw floods, as an intense La Nina system caused heavy monsoons. Rising waters were a concern for about 70 percent of New South Wales, where about a third of country lives. Off shore, however, The Great Barrier Reef was discovered to have lost more than half its total coverage over the past 27 years. A report than came out in October blamed intense storms, invasive species, and coral bleaching, caused by warming oceans.