On the Rio Grande—historically the wellspring for more than five million people in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico—coping with scarcity has become a reality, and water management and use in the region may be a leading example of how to adapt to drier times

A scorching July contributed to the third hottest summer on record for the contiguous United States. Most of the U.S. was also drier than average. Rains from Isaac did little to relieve drought.

Arctic sea ice extent fell to 1.58 million square miles on August 26, 2012. This was 27,000 square miles smaller than the previous record low of 1.61 million square miles set in 2007.

The current drought in the Southwest is not drier or longer-lasting than historic episodes documented in tree rings, but the current dry conditions stand out from the historical record by being hotter, according to Jonathan Overpeck, professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona.

Jeff Privette describes the challenges of using satellites that people designed for observing changes in the weather from day to day to study changes in climate from decade to decade.

Deke Arndt, Chief of the National Climatic Data Center’s Climate Monitoring Branch, uses a football field to explain how NOAA creates its Climate Extremes Index.

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