Obama’s examples of more extreme weather from droughts, floods, wildfires and hurricanes are weak examples for the United States. Wildfire may be the only one of these indicators that is increasing in the United States, but to a large degree this is because fire suppression efforts have resulted in more material being available to burn.
The IPCC found that “droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America.” A scientific overview published in June in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Societyfound that the severe drought of 2012, which at one point covered 39 percent of the United States, was still much less extreme than droughts in the 1930s (which covered 63 percent) and the 1950s (50 percent). And all those droughts pale next to the six-decade mega-drought in what is now the U.S. West in the 12th century.
Damage from flooding in the United States has declined from 0.2 percent of gross domestic product in 1940 to less than 0.05 percent today. And U.S. hurricanes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900. It has been more than seven years since the United States was hit by a Category 3 or stronger hurricane. That is the longest such hurricane drought since 1900.