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Weather Behaving Badly

If you're wondering just what in the world is happening with our weather lately, the National Climatic Data Center at NOAA has the answer. According to their recently released report State of the Climate: National Overview for June 2012, the 12-month period from July 2011 to June 2012 was the warmest on record for the contiguous United States. (Their records go back to 1895.) The national average temperature was 3.2 degrees higher than the long-term average, with every single contiguous state except for Washington warmer than average temperatures. In addition, the period from Januray to June 2012 was the warmest first half of a year on record. For more reading on weather and what it has done — and can do — check out some of these titles:

The great warming: climate change and the rise and fall of civilizations by Brian Fagan

The winds of change: climate, weather, and the destruction of civilizations by Eugene Linden

The Little Ice Age: how climate made history 1300-1850 by Brian Fagan

The raging sea: the powerful account of the worst tsunami in U.S. history by Dennis M. Powers

Hot time in the old town: the great heat wave of 1896 and the making of Theodore Roosevelt by Edward P. Kohn

Isaac's storm: a man, a time, and the deadliest hurricane in history by Erik Larson

The blizzard by Robert Bahr

The blizzard of '88 by Mary Cable

The children's blizzard: January 12, 1888 by David Laskin

A world turned over: a killer tornado and the lives it changed forever by Lorian Hemingway

Hemingway's hurricane: the great Florida Keys storm of 1935 by Phil Scott

Storm of the century: the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 by Willie Drye

Path of destruction: the devastation of New Orleans and the coming age of superstorms by John McQuaid and Mark Schleifstein

In the empire of ice: encounters in a changing landscape by Gretel Ehrlich

Catastrophe: an investigation into the origins of the modern world by David Keys

Weather matters: an American cultural history since 1900 by Bernard Mergen

The weather factor: how nature has changed history by Erik Durschmied

The white cascade: the Great Northern Railway disaster and America's deadliest avalanche by Gary Krist