The Facts of the Weather Extreme Events in the United States: Is there a Trend?

  •  Rachel Chen    


Numerous weather and climate extremes impact human society, the societal infrastructure, and the natural environment.  The main purposes of this study were to review the historical record of weather extremes in the United States, identify the frequency and intensity of severe storms in the historical record, and examine the extent of economic damage resulting from those extreme events which occurred over the most recent decades.  Potential changes in climate are forecast to result in possible frequency and/or intensity changes in extreme events, increases in precipitation, decreases in extreme low temperatures, increases in extreme high temperature, and changes in ecological systems such as climate-induced phonological shifts and possible biological extinctions.  However, the impacts of tropical storms, hurricanes, and rainfalls on society and the nature systems need to be further investigated due to the difficulties of evaluations on variations of storms’ activities (intensity and frequency).  Climatologists, biologists, and social scientists need to work together to bridge the gaps among the disciplines.  Future research may consider focusing on future trends and changes in frequency of extreme events based on the outcomes of the most integrated climate models to evaluate the relationships between the severe weather extremes and the continued greenhouse gas scenarios of the coming decades.

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