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Top 10 states ravaged by extreme weather in 2011

Memphis flood. Photo: Chris WielandBy many measures, 2011 was the most extreme weather year for the United States since reliable record-keeping began in the 19th century -- and the costs have been enormous. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2011 set a record for the most billion-dollar disasters in a single year. There were 12, breaking the old record of nine set in 2009. The aggregate damage from these 12 events totals at least $52 billion, NOAA found. Severe weather across much of the nation has raised the question of whether global warming has already begun to …

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Climate change has made New Yorkers more vulnerable to Irene

Hurricanes inflict some of their greatest damage by pushing walls of water onto land, in what are called storm surges. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that Hurricane Irene may generate peak surges of up to 10 feet high in places along the Mid-Atlantic coast. Tall wave action will compound the threat in exposed areas. And over the last century, mostly due to global warming, sea level has risen about a foot along much of the coast, placing even more people and homes at risk than would have otherwise been the case. This map below shows lower Manhattan …

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breaking wind news

The (b)low-down on wind [VIDEO]

You know that saying about March coming in like a lion? If the roar refers to the wind, the saying holds true. Hang onto your hats as we enter the windiest time of the year. Besides being a force of nature, the wind is a promising renewable energy resource. Understanding wind is critical both to predicting the weather and determining the best way to harness the wind’s power. As climatologist Dr. Heidi Cullen explains, understanding the wind actually begins with the sun:

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Abnormal normals, video

What is a 'normal' climate? Definitions are changing [VIDEO]

Climate Central's Heidi Cullen explains how "normals" for our climate during the past decade will very likely change soon. Government scientists are busy determining what's been the average temperature and precipitation for thousands of U.S. locations during the past 30-year period. Much like the U.S. Census, the recalculation takes place once every decade to reflect recent climate trends.   The new climate normals will provide key information for decisions we make in the future, ranging from what we plant, what we pay for energy, and even where we take a vacation.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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party of five

Top five climate and weather events of 2010 [VIDEO]

Climate Central's Heidi Cullen counts down the five biggest climate and weather-related events of 2010. Get the context behind some of this year's most important climate-related events, from Feburary's snow storms in the Northeast to floods in Pakistan.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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cold, hard facts

La Nina forecast should warm the hearts of skiers and snowboarders alike [VIDEO]

The forecast for the La Nina winter in the Pacific Northwest has ski resort owners there smiling. Dr. Heidi Cullen of Climate Central explains why, and gives us the latest global temperature analysis in this week’s video from Climate Central:

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Bad girl

What La Nina means for winter weather [VIDEO]

The cooler ocean temperatures of La Nina this year could have a significant effect on our winter weather. New predictions just released by government forecasters call for a warmer, drier Southwest and a wetter Pacific Northwest. And while the year is still tied as the hottest on record globally, a cooling La Nina makes it doubtful that 2010 will end as the warmest year ever. Learn more in the latest video from Climate Central:

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Here comes the story of the hurricane

Global temperatures and the hurricane season [VIDEO]

New numbers released by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center confirm what residents of countries around the world already may have suspected: 2010 has been no average year. In fact, the first nine months of the year tie 1998 globally as the hottest on record. And this hurricane season is trending above average, with increased activity coming as we enter the last half of the season. Climate Central has a video illustrating this and other highlights from the report:

Read more: Climate & Energy

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too hot to handle

Summer 2010 is breaking heat records [VIDEO]

After a scorching summer thus far, this year remains on track to be one of the hottest on record, according to the latest analysis from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center. The global land and ocean surface temperature data show that this July was the second warmest on record, and the period of January-July was the hottest since records began in the 1880s. The combined global land and surface temperature for July came in at 61.6 degrees F, more than a degree warmer than the 20th century average, and only 0.1 degree F cooler than the warmest …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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hot off the presses, video

The state of the climate [VIDEO]

2009 tied for the fifth-warmest year since the 1850s, and 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's 2009 State of the Climate report. Climate Central has a video illustrating this and other highlights from the report:

Read more: Climate & Energy