Over the past several months, extreme events in the form of heat waves, droughts, fires, and flooding have seemed to become the norm rather than the exception. In the past half-year alone, millions of people have been affected across the globe – from Europe suffering from the worst cold snap in a quarter century; to extreme flooding in Australia, Brazil, China, and the Philippines; to drought in the Sahel. Records have been broken monthly in the continental United States, with the warmest spring and 12-month period experienced this year and severe fires and drought affecting large swaths of the country.;xNLx;;xNLx;The World Resources Institute put together a timeline of extreme climate and weather events in 2012. We have by no means attempted to be comprehensive in listing events, but have aimed to include some of the most significant occurrences this year. ;xNLx;;xNLx;TO ACCESS EMBED CODE: http://multimedia.wri.org/extreme_weather_timeline.txt;xNLx;
Flooding, Landslides Hit Southeastern Brazil
Heavy rains, flooding, and landslides in southeastern Brazil cause 13,000 residents to flee homes, while a burst dam requires the evacuation of several thousands. Officials estimate that the rainy season adversely affects two million people.
50 Major Wildfires Burn in Chile
Fueled by intense heat, dryness, and high winds, 50 major wildfires burn in the central and southern regions of Chile, causing thousands to evacuate, creating millions of dollars in damages, and destroying hundreds of homes.
Europe's Worst Cold Snap in a Quarter Century
The cold lasts for three weeks and is accompanied by heavy snowfall. More than 650 lives are lost as a result, with the majority of deaths occurring in Russia, Ukraine, and Poland.
Massive Flooding in Australia
Record-breaking flooding in southwestern Queensland and northern New South Wales leads to the isolation of entire towns and the abandonment of thousands of homes.
Devastating Drought in Sahel
In February, UN World Food Programme Executive Director, Josette Sheeran, estimates that 10 million people, including more than one million children, in the Sahel are at risk of food insecurity due to drought.
IPCC Report Links Climate and Extreme Events
The report, written by 220 experts from 62 countries, finds that climate change has already contributed to changes in extreme events--such as heat waves, high temperatures, and heavy precipitation--in many regions over the past 50 years.
Study Connects Extreme Events and Climate cHANGE
Scientists Dim Coumou and Stefan Rahmstorf publish an article in "Nature Climate Change," finding "strong evidence" that links heat waves and precipitation extremes to human-induced warming.
Worst Drought in Northeast Brazil in 50 Years
The severe drought impacted more than 1,100 towns. "Water wars" ensued, leading to one death each day on average, as well as livestock losses.
Torrential Rains in China
Almost five million people are evacuated due to the rains and flooding. The floods lead to estimated losses of US$2 billion and 67 deaths. In one city, the extreme precipitation results in an avalanche, burying 10 miners. By mid-June, flooding and hail damage affect 123,500 acres of farmland, while hundreds of thousands of people face drinking water shortages.
Worst Flooding in 60 Years Near Beijing
More than half a foot (6.7 inches) of rain falls within 16 hours near Beijing, leading to at least 77 deaths. About 700,000 Beijing residents are evacuated and 500 flights are canceled. In late July, heavy rains come again, with 7.8 inches falling in the course of three hours, leading to another 18 deaths.