Tonight, while I watch for fog to form again along the coast and around Galveston Bay and for a front to touch off showers here Thursday and Friday, I want to pause to make an early resolution for 2012. For quite a while, I have shied away from talking much about climate change. However, as I look back on 2011, I'm struck by the magnitude and scope of dramatic weather events we witnessed. According to the National Weather Service, there were twelve major disasters that each resulted in at least a billion (that's with a "b") dollars' damage. The grand tally is estimated to be $200 billion.
So are these extreme events just "rare," or part of a cycle with more to come, or was it just a "fluke" year? This is a subject of much discussion in the meteorological community, even if it is absent from our airwaves. Rather than jump into the deep end of the pool, I plan to carefully wade into the subject. My resolution for 2012 is to post more of these stories on both sides of the issue on both the weather blog and on my Facebook page, so look for them there.
To get the ball rolling, here is a full-blown list of the top 12 weather headlines in 2011: old.news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20111207/sc_livescience/2011tallyofbilliondollarweatherdisastershits12
Also, here's a recent story about the public perception of what's causing the "bad" weather: old.news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20111214/sc_livescience/mostamericanslinkbadweathertoclimatechange.
I know some of you are wondering where I stand. I'm still educating myself on causes and effects to better understand the linkages. I deal in the daily and short-term forecast and am not a climate scientist. I defer to their expertise and feel it is important to examine their findings, but also fair to ask critical questions. So it's a work in process; but I simply can't stick my head in the sand and pretend nothing is happening. Especially not after the year we've just been through with the possibility of more to come.
Check back here frequently as I expect to post more in 2012 and I hope you'll learn with me and share in the process.