The United States has suffered record-breaking floods along the Mississippi River this year, plus giant snowstorms from the Midwest to the Northeast, massive wildfires in the West and South, deadly tornadoes in the South and Midwest and an extended drought in a quarter of the contiguous United States. A similar pattern of extreme weather occurred in 2010. And the U.S. is far from alone. Worldwide, weather- and climate-related disasters last year left nearly 70,000 people dead and inflicted nearly $100 billion in damages. The reasons behind the surge in extreme weather are open to debate, but a scientific consensus is emerging that global warming is the culprit. In some locales scientists are fighting back. In bone-dry Abu Dhabi, for example, they are trying to create summer rainstorms through a new version of cloud seeding. But experts say that as the planet warms, extreme weather -- with its immense human and financial toll -- is likely to continue.