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U.S. Weather Extremes Are Charted

2011 has witnessed a record number of temperatures extremes and record amounts of snowfall and rainfall

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U.S. Weather Extremes Are Charted

It's been a year in the United States in which weather excesses have turned into the new normal: a record number of temperature extremes and record amounts of snowfall and rainfall, not to mention drought, flooding, and wildfire. The specifics, including their health implications, are charted in online applications that the Natural Resources Defense Council recently posted.

The general patterns of extreme drought and snowfall will be familiar to any American watching TV this year: prolonged cattle-killing dryness in Texas; prevalent wildfires in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona; record-setting blizzards not only across the northern stretches of the country but also (for the second year in a row) in the Mid-Atlantic states and even Southeast; and very heavy rains all over the place--even southernmost Texas.

In all, summarizes the NRDC, "there were at least 2,941 monthly weather records broken by extreme events that struck [U.S.] communities," with climate change "increasing the risk of record-breaking weather events."

Separately, NRDC charts climate-related health threats: A map showing the average number of extreme heat days, 2000-2009, permits users to click on a state "for information on climate-health threats, actions being taken to prepare communities, and what you can do." For assistance in interpreting such data, the NRDC provides its take on the climate basics. For top-level expert analysis with an attitude, you won't do better.

For disinterested commentary if there is such a thing, go somewhere else!

The Conversation (0)
This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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