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You *Can* Do Something About The Weather: Why This Month Matters

Kim Knowlton

Posted May 21, 2012 in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Moving Beyond Oil, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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Here are some facts for the next conversation you find yourself having about the weather extremes we've seen recently. There were 3,251 monthly weather records broken in the U.S. last year. Across the country, 2011 saw so many extreme events that NRDC had to create an online map to keep track of them and the destruction they caused.

And so far, 2012 is off to another record-smashing start: March 2012 was the hottest March since record-keeping began back in 1895. April 2012 marked the end of the warmest 12-month stretch ever in the US. And summer isn’t even here yet. 

Many of these extreme events are affected and intensified by climate change, because the atmosphere is measurably warmer and wetter than it used to be.

Climate change is effectively loading the weather dice and contributing to the increased frequency of some of the harshest types of this wacky weather:

  • extreme heat -- increases death rates; worsens air pollution, breathing and lung illnesses; worsens drought and increases wildfire risks;
  • torrential rainfall -- floods city streets, homes, businesses, and fields; floods force people from their homes and cost billions…
  • large snowfalls – can cripple transportation, increase injury rates.

Now you can find out how your area is being affected by wacky weather. Take 15 seconds right now to enter your zip code here, and find out about some of the climate change-fueled extreme weather events that occurred in the last year and in the past decade right in your backyard. Location-specific information is drawn from NRDC's climate-health vulnerability maps.

Chemistry, physics, and science tell us that climate change is caused by carbon pollution. A recent 2012 paper from the American Thoracic Society describes how lung doctors expect asthma cases to rise as air pollution worsens from the effects of carbon pollution, as climate change sends temperatures higher.

I’m a health scientist, and I know one thing - - if there’s something in my power that I can do to help improve people’s health, I want to do it.

Once you’ve read some of the ways extreme weather and climate change are leaving their footprints in your state, I hope you'll take an important action today to protect your health, your family’s and your community’s from the health threats of climate change.

I've sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, with my strong support for the Agency's efforts protect the people, places and creatures we love from the health threats of climate change. You can write a letter, too, in support of EPA’s newly-proposed carbon standard, the first-ever national limit on industrial carbon pollution. This Thursday, I also look forward to offering testimony in Washington, D.C. to EPA at a hearing on the new carbon rules. Our collective voice in support of this issue is critical right now.

You can join more than 1 million other American who have already sent comments in support of this proposed standard. You have until June 25th to send in written comments, so the next month really matters. NRDC's new zip code lookup tool makes it easy to learn about the record-breaking weather in your area and send a letter, to help get the number to 2 million.

Each letter makes a huge difference. Will you be able to tell your children and grandchildren that you did everything you could to limit the worst effects of climate change, when they ask you, “What did you do about climate change?”

Even before they ask, you’ll know the difference.

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Comments

BSMay 21 2012 05:54 PM

Globally, 2012 has started off slightly cooler than 2011. As you know, the US is only a small % of the total earth's surface.

BSMay 21 2012 09:17 PM

Sorry, since I've been accused of using "obscure" sources of information, here is the NASA data showing that 2012 has started off cooler than 2011:

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.C.gif

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.C.txt

For the first 4 months of 2011, the global temperature anomaly was +0.49C. For the first 4 months of 2012, the global temperature anomaly was +0.4375C.

In fact, the average global surface temperature for Jan-Apr 2012 was cooler than nearly 68% of the monthly global temperatures since 1996 (as far back as NASA gives monthly data).

Comments are closed for this post.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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