Earlier in 2021, Texas froze and Seattle roasted. Parts of California flooded, burned, then flooded again. A hurricane that slammed Louisiana was so waterlogged that its remnants inundated New York City. A blizzard hit Hawaii.
The weather was wilder than usual this year, and the reasons vary, climate experts say.
Crazy cold snap? Giant hail? December tornadoes? Those happen now and then on a planet with natural variations in weather patterns.
But evidence increasingly shows that historic heat waves, monster rain events and ultra-intense storms are exacerbated by the warmer air and water of our overheating planet.
“The only two truisms when it comes to extremes in climate change are that almost everywhere: The hot hots are getting hotter and more frequent, and the wet wets are getting wetter and more frequent,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA who specializes in the relationship between climate change and weather.