Weird Weather Getting Weirder
Everybody’s been talking about the weather and that makes sense, because pretty much no matter where you are, the weather has been really, really weird. In October last year, for example, it was 32˚C in Burlington, Vermont (the city where Ben & Jerry's originated) easily breaking the record of 29˚C set back in 1891. Temperatures that high are unusual in late September in the US, but it looks like it’s the kind of thing we’d better get used to. At least we have a lot of ice cream to cool us down.
Complaining about the heat seems petty, though, when you consider the absolutely devastating storms that have recently battered other US states like Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and the Caribbean. An official in Puerto Rico, where power was knocked out across the island, 80% of crops were destroyed, and a dam is threatening to collapse, has said that Hurricane Maria set the territory back “20-30 years.”
From Hurricanes to Heatwaves to Flooding to...
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have monopolised the media’s attention, with good reason. But, as we mentioned recently, climate change has fueled other recent extreme weather events that you might not have heard about.
In July, more than 1.2 million people had to evacuate their homes in China as 60 rivers began to overflow their banks.
After an unusually dry summer, dozens of wildfires raged throughout the US Pacific Northwest, burning hundreds of thousands of acres, filling the air with smoke for miles around, and raining ash all over the region.
India experienced a run of unrelentingly bizarre weather throughout the summer, from extreme drought to absurd amounts of rainfall (and subsequent flooding).
In fact, more than 1200 people have been killed by flooding throughout South Asia this summer. The UN says that 41 million people in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal have been directly impacted by flooding and landslides.
More than 1,000 people died in Sierra Leone this August as a result of flooding and landslides.
A town in Australia recently came within a degree of breaking the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded in the country during the September months. Birdsville hit 42.5˚C on September 27th (the record is 43.1˚). It’s no surprise that the risk for wildfires throughout the country remains high.
A heatwave—named, appropriately enough, “Lucifer”—hit southern Europe this summer. Wildfires sparked in parched woodlands, the electrical grid was strained to the breaking point in some areas, and at least six people died.
The 2017 US summer was the hottest ever in California’s history, San Francisco saw its hottest temperature ever recorded: 41˚C. The heatwave killed 6 people.
Cape Town, South Africa, is experiencing its worst drought in over a century. Its reservoirs are alarmingly low and water-rationing measures have put in place all over the city. The rainy season came and went without much rain, and the situation is not likely to improve any time soon.
At least 22 people were killed in Central America as Tropical Storm Nate settled over the region, hitting Nicaragua and Costa Rica particularly hard. Nate arrived after two weeks of steady rain, triggering mudslides and flooding. Mercifully, the storm weakened when it hit the US Gulf Coast.
Climate change is very, very real. We’re seeing stronger storms, hotter heatwaves, heavier rainfall, longer droughts, and more catastrophic flooding: people are suffering from its effects all around the world. There’s no time to waste: stand with us today and demand action.