From record-low Arctic sea ice to the highest global sea level of the modern record, the 2012 State of the Climate report provides a complete rundown on the state of Earth's climate and how it is changing.
The extent of snow-covered ground in the Northern Hemisphere at the end of the cold season (June) hit a record low. Annual average snow cover extent has not exceeded the long-term average even once since 2003. Between 1979 and 2011, the snow cover in June is declining even faster than the end-of-summer Arctic sea ice extent.
During late winter, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas received sorely needed rain which helped reduce short-term impacts, like wildfire and dry topsoil. But as Deke Arndt explains, it has taken months to develop deep and severe drought in the region, and a few wet weeks won't erase that situation. It can take months of ideal conditions to bring soil, rivers, and vegetation back to health.
NOAA released the 2012 installment of the annual Arctic Report Card on December 5, 2012, as part of the American Geophysical Union's fall meeting. This image collection is a gallery of highlights based on the report's major themes. It was developed by the NOAA Climate.gov team in cooperation with Arctic Report Card authors and other Arctic experts.
In a place routinely afflicted by drought, water managers in Tampa Bay use climate forecasts to ensure a water supply to people’s taps without sucking the region’s rivers, wetlands, and groundwater dry. The limits of their innovation might be tested in a future which could pose even more challenges to ensuring the oasis remains green.