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Contact: Scott Smullen
The nation's climate and weather experts of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today unveiled the top weather, water, and climate events of the 20th century. Dozens of NOAA scientists contributed to a listing of U.S. and global storms and climate events noted for their atmospheric marvel or impact on human life.
"The lists demonstrate the wide range of weather calamities that impact much of the world's public, supports the notion that our never-ending search to completely understand these powerful climate and weather events will remain somewhat elusive," said D. James Baker, the under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "The listing commemorates the century's weather for its intensity, scope, and impact. It is by no means an exhaustive list," said Baker.
In compiling the listing, NOAA climatologists, meteorologists and hydrologists had the difficult job of selecting a few of the world's most notable tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, climate events and other weather phenomena that have marked this century of weather. Some factors that were taken into consideration included an event's magnitude, meteorological uniqueness, as well as its economic impact and death toll. Some of America's best meteorological minds each brought a perspective based upon their area of expertise to advise on the compilation.
"While there were certainly many notable weather events during this past century, this is a listing of those events which stand out in the minds of America's weather and climate specialists," said Baker. "These events are meteorologically exceptional and also uncommon due to their impact on society. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s, for example, caused an entire migration of people, led to shifts in land usage, and altered the economy at that period."
"When laid out in this compilation, these occurrences form a historical road map of progress in weather, water and climate forecasting," said John J. Kelly Jr., director of NOAA's National Weather Service. "They are both a reminder of our vulnerability to the atmosphere, and a testament to the advances we have made. These events are the big ones that have helped shape America's relationship with the atmosphere, and have helped further our understanding of mother nature."
Top U.S. Weather/Water/Climate Events (no
Top Global Weather/Water/Climate Events
(no particular order):
"While this century's weather is amazing,
so too is the progress NOAA's National Weather Service has made
in understanding and forecasting the relationship between weather,
water and climate," said Kelly. "The National Weather
NOAA's National Weather Service operates
the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system
in the world that includes data from systems, such as NOAA satellites,
ground sensors, sophisticated
computers and a network of modernized forecasting
offices across the country. The highly trained and skilled
workforce issues more than 734,000 weather forecasts, 850,000
river and flood forecasts, and between 45,000 and 50,000 potentially
life-saving severe weather warnings annually. The National Weather
Service warnings and forecasts help protect lives and property
and enhance the national economy all for approximately
$4 per person per year.
A four-page fact sheet giving detailed
descriptions of the 20th century events, with corresponding weather
technology sidebars and reproducible photos or satellite images
for the U.S. events, are available by upon request to the NWS
public affairs office at (301) 713-0622.