Public Release: 

EARTH: Highlights of 2012

Climate change and increasing resilience

American Geosciences Institute

Alexandria, VA - Considered individually, 2012's record high temperatures, droughts, wildfires, storms and diminished snowpack are not necessarily alarming. But combined, the fact that the first seven months of 2012 were hotter than the hottest on record, more than half of the U.S. counties were declared disaster areas due to drought, and the snowpacks were at all-time lows, these indicators are much more significant from a climate standpoint. Two questions then remain: Will we see the same thing in 2013? And how do we increase our ability to weather the storms and other disasters coming our way in the future? These questions and more are explored in the December issue of EARTH Magazine, in which we look at the earth science headlines of the last year, and consider how we might increase our resilience to natural hazards in the future.

In a commentary, distinguished senior climate scientist for the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Kevin E. Trenberth, delves into the climate variations we've seen, and looks ahead to how we will adjust to climate in the future. Read this story online at

In another commentary, Mary Lou Zoback, a consulting professor for Stanford University and a member of the National Academies Disaster Roundtable, looks at the idea of resiliency: figuring out how to reduce risk from an array of both natural and human-made hazards. Zoback looks into what made communities more resilient in 2012 and what they can do to increase their resiliency going forward. Read this story online at

The December EARTH highlights some of the top research and scientific accomplishments of the last year, as well as much more. Read about L'Aquila's seismic past in detail; learn how the practice of mummification emerged from environmental changes; and see how Red Giants and White Dwarfs form an explosive combination.


Keep up to date with the latest happenings in Earth, energy and environment news with EARTH Magazine online at Published by the American Geosciences Institute, EARTH is your source for the science behind the headlines.

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.

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