Natural Climate Patterns

From the strongest typhoon ever observed to historically high atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, the State of the Climate in 2013 report provides a complete rundown on the state of Earth's climate and how it is changing.

July 2012

  • 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.

  • The lead character in the 2011 climate story was La Niña—the cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation—which chilled the central and eastern tropical Pacific at both

  • La Niña—the cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation—dominated the Pacific Ocean at the start of 2011, subsided in summer, and returned in fall.

  • Check the fine print on many cans of hairspray or shaving cream these days, and you’ll probably find a reassurance that the product you are holding contains “No CFCs or chemicals known

  • In early 2011, stratospheric temperatures rose over the tropics due to La Nina while temperatures over the poles fell below the long-term average.

  • In 2011, La Niña and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation cooled parts of the Pacific Ocean, but unusually warm temperatures predominated elsewhere.