The five hottest years on record, with 2020 set to be the hottest. Courtesy of NOAA NCEI, Barbara Ambrose.
2020 is proving to be the most horrendous year that many experts had earlier predicted. On top of a devastating coronavirus which is infecting more than a quarter-of-a-million people a day and has almost killed a million people in the first 8 months of this year, however, without question the most destructive force of 2020 has been the weather and because of the Covid-19 stealing the media headlines many of the weather disasters this year have not been reported on.
Many of us don't need media reports to realise something is very wrong with the weather. Heatwaves are becoming hotter and longer-lasting, here in Holland we have just endured a record 10-day heatwave with temperatures in the high 30s C 106+F, which due to high humidity had a real feel temperature of around 45+ C, 113+F.
In winter this year, we witnessed the terrible consequence of climate change when drought, heat and high winds burned 25% of Australia's temperate forests, killed or injured 3 billion of its natural wildlife and damaged 60% of Australian crop output. Wildfires are normal in Australian summers, however, wildfires this year smashed all previous records by a country mile and burned an area the size of Syria. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison caused anger among Australians when he denied climate change was the cause of the record-breaking fires.
Another leader denying climate change is President Trump. In a tweet reported by CNN, Trump blamed "gross mismanagement" for the devastating California wildfires and just as the Aussie leader, Trump is sparking a backlash from top firefighters' associations, politicians and celebrities. In a series of tweets Saturday, Trump said the state's deadly wildfires are a result of poor forest management and threatened to cut federal aid. "There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor," Trump tweeted. "Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!"
He may have a point, California has hundreds of millions of dead spruce trees caused by a debilitating beetle infestation. However, the record-breaking early start to the Californian fire season has already destroyed 1 million acres since JulyWe are barely into the Cal fire season but, the burning of about 1.1 million acres in California in just a month, according to a Times analysis, is an astonishing toll so early in the fire season. In all of 2019, more than 259,000 acres in California burned, according to the Idaho-based National Interagency Fire Center. In all, more than 977,000 acres have burned in Northern and Central California — the equivalent of more than 1,500 square miles, three times the size of the city of Los Angeles. At least 744 structures have been destroyed in the last month. Nearly a million acres have burned since Aug. 15, which marked the start of a “lightning siege” during which 12,000 strikes started 585 new wildland fires, officials said Saturday. The blazes include the LNU Lightning Complex fire, which at more than 325,000 acres is the third-largest fire in California history. The SCU Lightning Complex fire, currently covering more than 339,000 acres, is the second-largest. Full story
Unusually heavy monsoon rainfall is driving severe flooding over large swathes of Asia, from northeast India and Bangladesh to China, Mongolia, and Japan. Floods have hit nearly 10 million people in South Asia, destroying crops and farmland, forcing evacuations, and killing at least 550 people in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. In Bangladesh, a third of the land has been submerged, hundreds of thousands are stranded, and more than 500,000 homes have been inundated, the UN reported. More than 100 people have died in floods and landslides in Nepal, where rapid urbanisation has also exacerbated disaster risks. Heavy rains and floods have forced some 2.7 million people in China to evacuate, according to the EU’s humanitarian aid arm, ECHO. Flooding around the Yangtze River basin this year has been “unprecedented”, according to the state-run news agency, Xinhua. And in Mongolia food security is becoming a pressing issue for hundreds of evacuated families after flash floods damaged key arteries, the Red Cross reported. Full story