“A federal committee has published a draft of the nation’s third climate assessment report, a comprehensive analysis of the latest and best peer-reviewed science on the extent and impacts of global warming on the United States.
None of the body’s findings are entirely new, but the report suggests that evidence is now stronger and clearer than ever that the climate is rapidly changing — primarily as a result of human activities, including the copious burning of fossil fuels. Observed weather extremes are on the rise, and the possible connection between at least some of these events and human-induced climate change is also more strongly supported by the science.”
“New York City, still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Sandy, will expand its evacuation zones, revise building codes and look for ways to better protect critical infrastructure like transportation and electrical networks from future natural disasters, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in a speech on Thursday morning.
But while the mayor said he would aggressively pursue a rebuilding of the city’s hard-hit waterfront, he warned that “there are no panaceas or magic bullets” to fully protect the city, and he again dismissed the use of expensive experiments like sea gates stretching across New York harbor.
Mr. Bloomberg said the city would consider the construction of dunes, jetties, levees and berms along coastal areas to help reduce damage from future storm surges. Height restrictions on some residential homes will be relaxed so owners can elevate their houses above the flood plain, and the city will update its building code to require more stringent protection against floods.”
More than 50 percent of the United States is under drought conditions right now, putting 2012 in the same category with some of the worst droughts in the nation’s history. The 54.6 percent figure (not counting Alaska and Hawaii) makes this year’s drought the sixth worst on record in terms of area covered, behind only the brutal droughts of the mid-1950s and the “Dust Bowl” era of the 1930s. Other more recent droughts — such as 2000, 2002, and 1998 — saw a greater percentage of the country suffering from the “severe” or “extreme” drought categories. However, even by that standard, June 2012 still ranks among the top 10 worst droughts of all-time.