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Extreme Weather Takes Toll on Crops, Society

Exceptional drought conditions grew in the United States
in mid-August, click for full report
Aug. 17, 2012 - In both the short-term and the long-term, extreme weather is tightening its grip and taking its toll on the United States and the world.

Among the contemporary indicators, exceptional levels of drought spread further through the grain belt of the United States in the middle of August. This trend followed forecasts by the USDA and the UN that food prices will rise significantly due to drought. (See map) This occurred as the US experienced the hottest July on record.

Further, the journal Nature published a study predicting that the South Pacific will see more floods and droughts.

But longer term, climate trends are setting up the conditions for more extreme weather. National Geographic has published charts showing that water vapor in the atmosphere has increased 4% in the last 30 years. This make more moisture available for torrential rains and huge snowstorms; now about 16 percent of the US is getting high levels of precipitation during extreme events, compared with the nine percent that did in 1970. Global temperatures and increased heat waves are also described.

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