The number of extreme storms, floods, and heat waves has gone up steeply in recent years. Climate change is making weather patterns more intense. This is driving the increase. Now, it is common for multiple extremes to hit the same places at the same time. These "compound events" make the risk even worse as they happen all over the world.
So far this year, we have already seen a steady stream of terrible weather disasters. Storms batter Europe, floods swamp Asia, drought withers crops in Africa, scorching heat bakes Australia. What enormous waves or fierce winds will come next?
The year continues, but there is no break from nature's growing rage. Below is a look in order at the extreme weather unfolding in 2023.
January's Extreme Rain and Warmth
The year started with unusually high temperatures and rainfall across the U.S. The country experienced its sixth-hottest January on average, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A meandering jet stream funneled warming winds from the Pacific throughout the nation over the course of the month.
Meanwhile, stubborn high pressure systems diverted storms to the west, resulting in well above average temperatures nationwide.
In addition, tenacious atmospheric rivers dumped unprecedented rains that made it America's third-wettest January on record. The nonstop moisture especially inundated drought-plagued California, where ten tempestuous storms battered the state in January alone. The cascade of fierce weather triggered flooding, landslides, and hefty mountain snowpack accumulation as reported by Los Angeles Times.