Headlines from a warming world: Extreme weather and climate breakdown
Climate breakdown is not something in the future, it's here now. Already we are seeing more extreme weather events which can have a deadly impact, particularly in the poorest countries which have done least to cause the crisis.
The number of climate disasters has increased five-fold over recent decades. In the 1970s, 711 were recorded, but this number increased to 3536 in the 2000s and 3165 in the 2010s, a clear sign of climate breakdown. Better early warning systems have meant deaths have actually fallen over this period. But in the 2000s 329,000 people died from storms, floods, landslides, extreme heat, drought and wildfire, and 185,000 in the 2010s.
While people may be evacuated, their homes, farms and the infrastructure of towns and cities cannot be moved out of danger. Physical destruction and its economic cost has risen dramatically as climate disasters have increased. There is also an impact on ecosystems. The devastating Australian bushfires of 2019-20 are also estimated to have affected almost 3 billion animals, either killed or displaced with 'not great' prospects of survival.
Not all of these events make the headlines, and some which do are quickly forgotten, despite the fact that there is no full 'recovery' from some disasters. This page will be regularly updated with news of the most recent events and reports from ongoing crises. Some of these have a very clear link to human-caused global warming. Other extreme weather events fall within the range of 'normal' variability. However it is important to raise awareness of these too. As time goes on, patterns of increased frequency and severity can often be detected. They also help us remember how vulnerable particular regions (especially in the Global South) are to an increasingly destabilised climate.
For more information on the causal links between global heating and deadly events like drought, flooding, hurricanes and landslides, read A more dangerous climate: why extreme weather events are becoming more common
Catastrophic floods in Libya
After hitting Greece, Storm Daniel brought torrential rain to Libya, with the city of Al Bayda receiving 414mm in 24 hours, around three-quarters of the average annual rainfall. The deluge overcame two dams, reported to be poorly maintained, upstream of the city of Derna which was devastated by the floods. The Libya's ambassador to the UN said the death toll had reached 6,000, a number which is expected to rise, since thousands are still unaccounted for. A contested figure of 11,300 has been cited more recently by the UN.
(As of 2 August) 30 consecutive days of the hottest global average temperatures ever recorded
The global average temperature on Monday 3rd July, 17.01C, surpassed the previous record of 16.924°C. This was beaten on Tuesday (17.18C) and again on Thursday (17.23C). These temperatures were the highest since global temperature has been monitored, but using proxy data collected through tree rings and ice cores we can tell that these average temperatures are the highest in at least 125,000 years. Temperatures have not fallen below the previous record temperature for the past (as of 2 August) 30 days.
Record-breaking rainfall in China
Typhoon Doksuri brought the heaviest rains to China since records began 140 years ago. Hundreds of thousands were evacuated from China's south-east Fujian province, and the storm then moved to the area of Beijing where a month's worth of rainfall was recorded in 40 hours. At least 20 have been killed and 27 missing. Nearly one million people were evacuated in Beijing and in neighbouring Hebei province, In the city of Zhuozhou, where several rivers join, one sixth of the population of 600,000 were evacuated, and residential areas more than twice the size of Paris were waterlogged.
Winter heatwave in Chile
Temperatures of up to 38.9C were recorded in the Chilean Andes in winter, and high temperatures also in Argentina. At least one station recorded its highest ever temperature for any month - in winter.
Continuing heatwave in Japan and South Korea
High temperatures have continued in Japan, with records broken, and in South Korea, where 12 people died from heat-related deaths last weekend, while in Japan, three people died including a 13 year-old on her way back from school.
Record temperature in Niger
As part of the ongoing heatwave across North Africa and the Middle East, Niger recorded its highest temperature of 47.4C.
July 2023 was the world's hottest ever month, with many local records broken
Marine heatwaves have continued, including in the North Atlantic, where unprecedented temperatures could be catastrophic for fish stocks, and in the Mediterranean. In Florida, ocean surface temperatures reached 100F (37.8C) killing corals on which the marine ecosystem (and the local economy) depend.
Antarctic sea ice fails to re-form in winter
Levels of sea ice are so low, that the mathematical chance of this occurring in the absence of climate change would be once in every 7.5 million years - statistically, it is five standard deviations outside the mean.
Mediterranean heatwaves and wildfires
Wildfires around the Mediterranean have hit nine countries, including Italy's southern island of Sicily where three people were killed, France near Nice airport, and in Croatia, Syria, Turkey. There were also fires in Portugal and Spain's Gran Canaria.
In Algeria, 97 wildfires broke out across 16 provinces, killing at least 34. Northern Algeria has been experiencing a record heatwave in recent days, with temperatures reaching 48C. Temperatures in several regions in North Africa are up to 7C higher than normal for the time of year.
In Tunisia, where some cities had recorded temperatures of 49, wildfires also broke out, but were contained by firefighters with no loss of life.
Weather attribution researchers found that the heatwaves in North America and Europe would be virtually impossible without climate change.
Meanwhile research was published which found that more than 61,000 people were killed by extreme heat in Europe in 2022.
Above the heatwave zone, instability led to unseasonal storms and hail. In Italy, hailstones as big as tennis balls battered the regions of Veneto and Lombardy, injuring at least 110 people, while a tornado hit Milan. Further hailstorms in Italy probably set the record for largest hailstones recorded in Europe. There were also destructive hailstorms in Croatia and Slovenia, Germany was hit by thunderstorms and giant hail, and a tornado in Switzerland killed one and injured 15
China records hottest temperature ever.
A temperature of 52.2C was recorded in the remote northwest township of Sanbao in Xinjiang's Turpan Depression, significantly higher than the previous highest temperature recorded anywhere in China (50.3C)
Following the hottest June day on record for Beijing, the heatwave across much of China continued into July, with a red heat warning meaning employers across much of China were ordered to limit outdoor work due to scorching temperatures, Residents of some cities have moved into underground air raid shelters to escape the heat. The temperature in nearly half of China exceeded 35C for only the second time in history.
Southern US heatwave continues
Around a third of the US population has been put under extreme heat advisories. Conditions in Phoenix, Arizona, have been described as 'hell on earth' with hospitals treating patients with serious burns from pavement surfaces, or even the water from a garden hose.
El Niño arrives
The Pacific naturally alternates between two global climate patterns: El Niño and La Niña. During La Niña events, trade winds blowing west along the equator are even stronger than usual, pushing more warm water toward Asia. Off the west coast of the Americas, upwelling increases, bringing cold, nutrient-rich water to the surface. During El Niño, trade winds weaken. Warm water is pushed back east, toward the west coast of the Americas.
For the past three years, the world has been in a La Niña phase, associated with cooler global average temperatures, however climate change has meant that despite this, recent years have still been warm. Now El Niño is expected to 'take the brakes off', increasing the likelihood of triggering more extreme heat - 2023 could become the hottest on record, although most of El Niño’s heat will appear in 2024. The impacts vary in different regions:
- Lower rainfall and higher temperatures in Australia, increasing the risk of wildfires and mass coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef.
- Hotter and drier conditions in the Amazon meaning less growth and greater risk of fires in a forest already approaching a tipping point. Heat and drought also increase in Colombia and Central America.
- Heavy rains and flooding in Peru and Ecuador
- Wetter weather and increased flood risks in the southern US, while the northern US and Canada get warmer and drier. China also tends to be wetter in the south and hotter and drier in the north.
- Reduced rainfall in the Indian monsoon.
- Normally reduced risk of hurricanes and typhoons - however abnormal ocean heat may counteract this to some extent.
- Hopes of increased rain in the drought-stricken Horn of Africa.
Heatwave in North Africa
While not covered at all in mainstream media, temperature records have been broken in North Africa in July. This includes Adrar in Algeria recording a minimum night time temperature of 39.6C - the highest minimum temperature ever recorded in Africa. Initial records noted by @extremetemps on Twitter: 1 July, 5 July, 8 July, 9 July, 10 July.
Severe monsoon season causes deaths across Asia
Climate change increases the risk of heavy rainfall as warm air holds more moisture, and extreme rain has caused floods and landslides across several countries.
Delhi experienced the heaviest July rainfall in decades. Severe rains triggered at least 14 landslides and several flash floods across Himachal Pradesh, with bridges falling into the Beas river. Delhi, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh have received 112%, 100% and 70% more rainfall than average so far in the current monsoon season that started on 1 June. Rainfall varies considerably, but climate change is making the monsoon stronger and more erratic.
While parts of China experienced record-breaking heat, in other areas, unusually heavy rains have killed several people and damaged infrastructure
Six people died and three others were missing after the “heaviest rain ever” triggered floods and landslides in south-west Japan. The city of Kurume received precipitation of over 40cm in 24 hours. Landslides are a serious risk in Japan, where many homes are built on flat land at the foot of hills and mountains.
Meanwhile Tokyo issued a heatwave alert. Heatstroke is especially risky for Japan's large elderly population, whose bodies are less able to naturally cool than younger people.
At least 40 people have been killed in South Korea by floods caused by torrential rainfall, including those trapped in vehicles in a flooded tunnel.
Floods in New York and Vermont
Torrential rainfall in the Hudson Valley region of New York State flooded roads and residential areas, and caused at least one death, before moving on to Vermont where it caused the worst flooding since Hurricane Irene in 2011 damaging homes and businesses, but causing no deaths.
Canada wildfires continue, with heat records set in the north
Beginning in March 2023, and with increased intensity starting in June, Canada has been affected by an ongoing, record-setting series of wildfires. Eleven provinces and territories have been affected, with large fires in Alberta, Nova Scotia and Ontario and Quebec. As of 7 July, more than 9 million hectares had burned, shattering the previous record 7.8m hectares burned in 1989. Nearly 1,800 firefighters from 11 countries have arrived to help control the fires.
Smoke from the wildfires has affected air quality across large areas of the US: in late June more than a third of the US population, from the Midwest to the East Coast, were under air quality alerts. Hundreds of thousands of masks were distributed around New York City.
On 9 July, Fort Good Hope in the Northwest Territories, near the Arctic Circle, recorded 37.4C, the hottest temperature recorded that far north in Canada.
Hottest June ever recorded
The Met Office has confirmed June was the hottest on record for the UK, eclipsing the last hottest by nearly a full degree. There was concern about possible impacts on marine ecosystems off the coasts of UK and Ireland if high sea temperatures continued, with possible mass mortality of fish and oysters.
Heatwave in Mexico and southern US states
Over 100 people died in Mexico in June due to scorching temperatures. The increased electricity demand put strain on the grid, causing power shortages. In the US, the heatwave extended from southern Arizona to the Florida coast. In Texas, a public health crisis was reported, particularly affecting older people and outdoor workers, while prisons are reported to be 'like ovens'.
Analysis found that human-caused climate change continues to make persistent, dangerous heat in places in Texas, the Southwest, and Mexico at least 5 times more likely.
In early June Siberia experienced the region’s 'worst heat wave in history', with temperatures in the high 30s, breaking dozens of records.
Antarctic sea ice at record low level for June
At the end of June, the extent of sea ice should be building to a mid-point between the maximum and the minimum. However, this year the ice is expanding very slowly with the consequence that the extent is way below normal, 2.5 million square kilometres below average for the time of year, and over 1.3 million sq km below the next lowest recorded extent for the time of year.
Floods in Haiti
Thousands were displaced and at least 42 killed in Haiti after a weekend of torrential downpours that triggered mudslides and caused rivers to burst their banks.
Cyclone Mocha, a Category 5 storm killed at least 145 people in Myanmar (or over 400 according to Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government). Coastal areas in Rakhine state were hit by winds of over 200 kilometers per hour. Rakhine is a largely impoverished and isolated state, with Rohingya mostly confined to camps akin to open air prisons, after being forced from their homes by military attacks. UN staff said they were denied access to the camps to help. Further north, houses, schools and hospitals were destroyed – a situation exacerbated by ongoing conflict and the presence of troops hindering access to safe shelter
In Bangladesh, the storm crushed thousands of shelters in the world's largest refugee camp, home to one million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.
East Asia heatwave continues
In South East Asian countries the heatwave which began in March continued into May.
Floods in Italy
After prolonged drought, Emilia-Romagna and parts of Marche northern Italy have been badly affected by heavy rain, floods and landslides, in which nine died and thousands were evacuated.
Record-breaking heatwave in western Canada and US
A heat dome centred above south-western Canada has brought record heat for the time of year to a wide region, and triggered multiple wildfires in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Further north, snowpack is melting abnormally early because of the warmth.
Floods hit multiple countries in East Africa
In Rwanda, at least 130 people died amid severe flooding and landslides in Rwanda in early May, while thousands were displaced as entire villages were engulfed. Beyond the 5,000 homes, 17 roads and 26 bridges destroyed, a whole hospital was lost amid torrential rain that followed an extended drought.
Heavy rain also caused floods and landslides in Uganda, killing six.
The Horn of Africa, where the worst drought for 40 years is devastating livelihoods and even threatening famine in some areas, also suffered from floods in Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania. Also in Somalia where almost a quarter of a million people had to to flee their homes after the Shabelle River in central Somalia broke its banks and submerged the town of Beledweyne
Torrential floods and landslides in South Kivu province, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, killed over 400 so far confirmed and left thousands homeless
UN warns El Niño could take brakes off global warming
Despite last year being the fifth warmest on record, the world has been in a 'La Niña' weather phase since 2020, which tends to cool average global temperatures. There is estimated to be a 60% chance that an El Niño will develop by end of July, and 80% chance of it by end of September. This climate pattern is typically associated with increased heat worldwide, as well as drought in some parts of the world and heavy rains elsewhere.
Heatwave in Spain, Portugal and Morocco
Spain recorded its hottest ever temperature for April, hitting 38.8C at Cordoba airport on 27 April. Portugal also recorded its highest ever April temperature of 36.9C on the same day, while in Marrakech, Morocco, temperatures reached a record 41.3C. These temperatures are 10 to 15C above the seasonal average, according to the UK Met Office.
Researchers found that this heatwave would have been almost impossible without the climate crisis.
The heatwave is being amplified by dry soils. The lack of rain is causing serious problems for farmers and communities: drought affects 60% of Spain’s countryside, and has destroyed cereal crops across 3.5 million hectares (detailed review in Spanish). Questions are being asked as to the long-term future of agriculture in Catalonia and southern Spain if these trends continue. In the district of Tomelloso in central Spain, where there has been no rain for 134 days, farmers report that even fall-back crops such as drought-resistant grape vines are being kept alive only with 'unheard of' spring irrigation.
Water scarcity is not just affecting farmers, but also drinking water. Water rationing has been introduced in Catalonia's cities and towns and some villages having supplies topped up by water brought in on trucks. There have also been unusually early wildfires in late March in the eastern region of Castellon.
Heatwave across Asia
A severe heatwave gripped much of the continent in late April. Record April temperatures were recorded at monitoring stations across Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, as well as in China and South Asia.
In Thailand the hottest temperature ever was recorded - 45C - and the following week authorities advised people in Bangkok and other areas of the country to stay home with temperatures of 42C and a heat index - meaning what the temperature feels like combined with humidity - of 54C.
In Bangladesh, temperatures rose above 40C in the capital, Dhaka, earlier this month, marking the hottest day in 58 years
At least 13 people died from heatstroke in Maharashtra after attending a state award ceremony. Recent research highlighted India's vulnerability to heatwaves, finding that more than 90% of the country could fall into an extreme heat “danger” zone, according to the heat index, the study found.
An attribution study found that that such an April heatwave was 30 times as likely to occur over India and Bangladesh because of climate change. Over Thailand and Laos such an event would have been virtually impossible in a climate that had not been heated by fossil fuel burning.
Last year, India experienced its hottest March on record, followed by a searing heatwave, with temperatures of up to 49C (120°F). An earlier study found that India saw a 55% rise in deaths due to extreme heat between 2000-2004 and 2017-2021
Heat records on other continents
Southern Africa has experienced a fierce late autumn heatwave. In early April, Botswana's temperature record for April was broken, reaching 38.4C at Tubu in the north-west, a record surpassed at the same location later in the month, reaching 40.4C.
In Nunavut, northern Canada, a record of 11.1C was reached at a time of year when temperatures rarely exceed freezing.
Argentina heatwave continued into autumn
The country’s summer, which technically runs from December to February, was by far the hottest on record, with repeated heatwaves, and the heat in March has been unprecedented. Temperatures during the first 10 days of March were 8-10C above normal in east-central Argentina. The heat has caused an agricultural crisis and contributed to wildfires.
Record-breaking Cyclone Freddy made landfall in Madagascar and Mozambique in late February. It then looped back and hit the coast of Mozambique again two weeks later, before moving inland to Malawi. Freddy holds the record for most accumulated cyclone energy (ACE), a measure based on a storm's wind strength over its lifetime, as well as being the longest-lasting tropical cyclone.
Overall, Freddy killed at least 1,434 people including at least 1,216 in Malawi and 198 in Mozambique.
California faced its 12th in a series of powerful, atmospheric river storms over the winter. These have helped alleviate the years-long megadrought, but also caused severe flooding.
Floods in Peru and Ecuador
Since the end of January, a sudden and abnormal warming of Pacific waters off Peru known as a Coastal El Niño has led to heavy rainfall. The rains became especially intense after the rising ocean temperatures helped fuel Cyclone Yaku.
Cyclone Gabrielle hits New Zealand
New Zealand has declared a state of emergency. A third of the country's population of five million live in areas affected by the cyclone, which caused devastation to coastal communities on North Island. Some people had to swim through windows to escape flooded homes.
The worst wildfire season on record in Chile displaced thousands and caused 24 deaths, with fires consuming around 400,000 hectares of land. The fires have been enabled by record summer temperatures of over 40C, on top of a 13-year drought.
Pakistan still dealing with flood aftermath
Six months on from the start of devastating floods in Pakistan, about 200,000 people are still displaced, many living under tarpaulins by the side of the road. A food security crisis feared and malaria is rife, normally minimal in winter.
Three weeks of rainstorms in California
Three weeks of January storms caused an estimated $1 billion damage and killed at least 21 people. The storms helped restore snowpack which is badly needed in the long drought, but the impact on the year's wildfire forecast is mixed, since the rainfall will increase vegetation and makes controlled winter burning more difficult.
Unseasonal floods in Philippines
The Philippines experienced heavy rain, flooding and landslides in January, killing at least 28 people, even though the Philippines is normally in its cool, dry season from December to February. The Philippines is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, regularly hit by typhoons and storms.
2023 kicks off with temperature records falling across Europe
The warmest January day ever was recorded in at least eight European countries including Poland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belarus, Lithuania and Latvia, according to data collated by Maximiliano Herrera. In Korbielów, Poland, the temperature reached 19C, compared to the 1C annual average for January. Meteorologists said that such extreme heat over such a large area was 'almost unheard of'.
With drought ongoing in the Horn of Africa, the UN warns that 700,000 could face starvation in Somalia next year, with famine only averted so far by food aid, while livestock have been dying at a 'shocking rate'.
Review of 2022
Overall, 2022 was the fifth warmest on record, with the average global temperature almost 1.2C above pre-industrial levels, despite the presence for the third year in a row of the La Niña phenomenon that has a cooling effect.
Twelve European countries broke monthly temperature records in 2022 as the continent recorded its hottest ever summer, and abnormally warm temperatures in October and December. Overall, Europe recorded its second warmest year on record.
Many media outlets looked back at climate disruption and extreme weather over 2022.
Looking forward to 2023, we should be aware of other crises which will continue to interact with the impacts of climate breakdown, including the global debt crisis, the impact of the Ukraine war which is driving shortages (including a global food crisis) and taking attention away from other crises, healthcare disrupted by Covid, colonial legacies and geopolitics. This article asks, for example, about the global risk of a multi-year water crisis in China that significantly reduces its grain production and electricity supplies.
Flash floods at Petra
The ancient city received almost half its annual rainfall in a storm which caused tourists to be evacuated.
Christmas day floods in the Philippines
Heavy rains on Christmas day killed at least 51 and displaced thousands.
Winter storms in US and Canada
A winter storm, estimated to be more than 3000 kilometres wide, hit US states as far south as Texas as well as the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. Blizzards and extreme cold left at least 60 people dead and millions without power, and travel cancelled during the holiday period. The storm was caused by Arctic winds known as the polar vortex dipping south over North America. Some scientists believe climate change may be fuelling this instability in polar weather systems.
Heatwave in Argentina
In early December, 24 weather stations in Argentina recorded temperatures above 40C, Rivadavia station, located near the border with Bolivia and Paraguay, recorded a maximum temperature of 46C on 7 December – the hottest temperature recorded in the world that day. Argentina is in its third consecutive year of drought.
Researchers found this heatwave was made about 60 times more likely by climate change.
Floods in Kinshasa
More than 120 people were killed following the worst floods in years in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many of those who died were in hillside areas which suffered landslides.
Floods in West/Central Africa
Floods in Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Benin, triggered by an early and unusually severe monsoon season, together killed at least 800 people. Analysis found the heaviest seven days of rainfall were probably about twice as likely to happen because of the influence of climate change. The entire summer’s average rainfall, on the other hand, was probably about 80 times more likely. The rains were also likely around 20 percent more intense than they would have been without the influence of global warming.
On 28 October, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, warned of surging needs for more than 3.4 million displaced people due to flooding in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Cameroon.
Over 600 were killed and 1.3 million displaced in the worst floods in Nigeria for a decade. Most of the affected states are in the south-east and north-central regions, where hundreds of communities have been cut off and are without access to food, clean water and fuel. A surge in cholera cases has been reported.
Following the heaviest rainy season in 30 years which had caused flooding in 18 of Chad's 23 provinces, in mid-October the two rivers that surround Chad’s capital, N'Djamena, both overflowed. The waters did not recede, and as of mid-November, 110 square km in N’Djamena and its immediate surroundings were under water. Chad's government declared a state of emergency.
Floods in the north of the country affected more than 150,000 people and destroyed over 18,000 homes. There were concerns about outbreaks of cholera in refugee camps.
Late October heatwave
The second half of October saw abnormally high 'summer' temperatures around the eastern Mediterranean. Algeria's Oran airport recorded 40.4C on 17 October and on 18 October, 51 weather stations in France recorded above 30C. Abnormally high temperatures were also recorded in parts of the Middle East and Central Asia.
Floods in south-eastern Australia
Severe floods hit the states of Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. La Nina combined with another weather pattern called a negative Indian Ocean Dipole, along with climate change. The crisis follows severe flooding in March and April on Australia's east coast. Consecutive wet years have left the land saturated, unable to easily absorb excess rainfall, and some dams full. Sydney has experienced its wettest year on record, In 30 minutes on 7 October, Melbourne received half its average monthly rainfall.
Drought in Brazil's Amazonas state
Levels of the Amazon river have fallen due to severe drought that, at least in some areas, is the worst in decades.
Drought shrinks Mississippi River and other North American waters
The drought-hit Mississippi fell to its lowest level ever at Memphis. Barges transporting grain and other goods were limiting their loads, with 1,700 barges waiting for dredging to open a channel. With the saltwater intrusion threatening drinking water supply, the US army was constructing an underwater dam to block heavier saltwater from moving upstream.
About 82% of the continental US is in conditions between abnormally dry and exceptional drought. The Great Salt Lake in Utah is shrinking and 'on the brink of ecological collapse'. The Platte River in Nebraska ran almost entirely dry. In British Columbia, Canada, the carcasses of 65,000 salmon were found in a dried up river.
Landslide in Venezuela / Hurricane Julia
After a month's rainfall fell in the region in eight hours, the El Pato river burst its banks, causing floodwaters to wash away trees, cars, houses and shops in the small Venezuelan town of Las Tejerías, and killing at least 54.
The same system developed into Hurricane Julia which made landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 1 storm, moving through Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. It caused at least 28 deaths, half of them in Guatemala. While this storm was not as strong as others in the past, it hit countries such as Honduras which have not recovered from Hurricanes Eta and Iota in 2020.
Extreme heat in parts of China
Southern provinces set temperature records for October, with drought alerts still in place in some areas, while the north west faced early snowfall.
Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 hurricane, tied with several other storms becoming the 5th-strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in the US. Ian knocked out power to the whole of Cuba, and caused massive damage in Florida. In total there were at least at least 140 fatalities and losses estimated to be more than over $67 billion. A preliminary study found that the amount of rain dumped by the storm was 10% higher because of global warming.
Typhoon Noru was predicted to make landfall in the Philippines as the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane. But after rapid intensification over only six hours, it strengthened into a super typhoon, the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. Hundreds of thousands were evacuated and 40 deaths reported across the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
Catastrophic floods in Pakistan
Devastating floods in Pakistan were caused by heavier than usual monsoon rains and melting glaciers that followed an unprecedented heatwave. Affecting 33 million people and causing an estimated $30 billion reconstruction costs and economic damage, the floods caused Pakistan's government to call for debt relief.
Flooding in West and Central Africa
The UN reported that over 125,000 people had been displaced by recent flooding across 17 countries in West and Central Africa, including the Republic of Congo, Chad, Liberia, Nigeria, Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Mauritania, the Central African Republic, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Mali and Burkina Faso.
Above average rainfall was linked to an ongoing la Niña event, exacerbated by climate change. Deforestation is also believed to contribute towards heavier rainfall, with informal settlements in urban floodplains and hillsides particularly vulnerable in cities such as Freetown where six people lost their lives in a mudslide.
Floods in Sudan
Around 226,200 people have been affected by flooding and heavy rains across 15 states. The rains and floods destroyed at least 13,200 houses and damaged another 34,200 since the beginning of the rainy season in June, with 89 people killed and more than 30 injured.
Drought continues in Europe
Analysts warn it is probably the worst drought the continent has faced in 500 years.
Drought in China
A record-breaking drought has caused some rivers in China, including parts of the Yangtze, to dry up, affecting hydropower. Sichuan, which gets more than 80% of its energy from hydropower, rationed electricity usage. Shipping was also halted on the crucial waterway, and 2.2m hectares of agricultural land were affected by the drought.
McKinney fire spreads in California
Flash floods and mudslides in Iran
Two weeks of heavy rainfall brought flash floods and mudslides which killed at least 69 people.
Floods in Uganda
After prolonged drought, torrential rain in parts of Uganda caused floods and landslides which affected over 300,000 people and killed at least 24.
US: two 1-in-1,000 year rain events in two days
The same climate-charged weather pattern brought record-breaking rainfall to St Louis, with floods killing one person, and similar heavy rain and floods the following night to eastern Kentucky, killing at least 25 people.
Wildfires spread around the Mediterranean, in what has been predicted to be Europe's worst climate disaster. So far in Portugal 238 have died from the heat and 12,000 have been evacuated from fires in southwest France. In the UK, the Met Office issued the first ever Red extreme heat warning, as temperatures are set to rise above 40C in the UK, and experts warned to expect thousands of deaths.
Heat alert in China
Continuing earlier severe floods in southern China and heat in northern and central China: 86 cities issued red alerts warning of temperatures over 40C. Roads have buckled in the heat
Floods in Sydney, Australia
Sydney received almost four months' worth of rain in just a few days, causing severe flooding. For some areas of eastern New South Wales this was their fourth flood emergency in less than 18 months.
Drought emergency declared in northern Italy
Italy has declared a state of emergency in five northern regions surrounding the Po River amid the worst drought in 70 years. Seawater is now seeping into the river, destroying crops.
Heatwaves from Norway to North Africa break temperature records
Norway recorded a temperature of 32.5C at Banak, the highest temperature ever recorded within the Arctic Circle in Europe, and where the June average of 13C.
At 48.2C Turkmenistan recorded the hottest June day in the history of Central Asia. Records were also set for Tajikistan (46.1C) and Uzbekistan (47C). The city of Abadan in Iran hit a staggering 52.2C.
Temperatures in Tunisia equalled its monthly record of 48.7C, and local temperature records were set in Algeria
Floods in Bangladesh and Assam
Assam and other north-eastern states of India esperienced 'double the usual amount of rain' submerging villages, and bringing waist deep flood water to cities. Authorities said more than 5.5 million people had been affected and 260,000 were in relief camps.
In Bangladesh at least 60 people were killed, with Sylhet district the worst affected, with the worst flooding there for 122 years. crops damaged and over four million stranded. Getting clean drinking water to people after the floods has to be a priority to avoid an epidemic of waterborne diseases. The last seven years alone brought five major floods. Another, pre-monsoon flood, just one month previously, reduced the capacity of wetlands to absorb water, and for communities to cope, hit with successive disasters.
Famine threatens in Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa has suffered four consecutive failed rainy seasons and is experiencing its worst drought in four decades, exacerbated by food price rises caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Somalia is the worst affected country, and aid workers have warned that conditions are worse than the 2011 famine that killed more than 250,000 people. Six million people, 40% of the population, are “acutely food insecure”. That includes 81,000 people already at a “catastrophe” level of hunger. Yet the humanitarian response plan is only 18 percent funded. More than 770,000 people have abandoned their homes.
More than four million people in north and eastern Kenya are acutely food insecure. In the eastern and southern lowlands of Ethiopia, drought is affecting 6.8 million people. An estimated 2.5 million livestock died between late 2021 and mid-May 2022. In Sudan, 40% of the population are estimated to be short of food by September, because of conflict, poor harvests and political crisis, while in South Sudan three consecutive years of flooding as well as conflict have left 70% dependent on food aid (overview of countries' needs)
Heat and floods in China
There was record electricity demand in northern China due to a heatwave. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands have had to be evacuated in the south due to floods caused by the heaviest rainfall early May to mid June that the region has seen in decades. More than 200,000 people had to be evacuated in Guangdong and 145,000 in Guangxi, where 2,700 houses collapsed. In eastern Jiangxi Province, nearly 500,000 people were affected and in neighbouring Fujian, more than 220,000 people were evacuated.
Earlier in June, at least 21 people died after flooding induced by torrential rain in the central Chinese province of Hubei.
Heatwave in western Europe
An unusually early and intense heatwave spread up from North Africa in mid-June, bringing temperatures more than 10°C higher than the average for this time of year to parts of Spain and France,. In France In France, hundreds of monthly temperature records were broken and 16 all-time records. Public outdoor events were temporarily banned in parts of France. In Spain, the heat sparked dozens of wildfires in eight of the country’s 17 regions, including a 'monster' blaze in the In the Sierra de la Culebra mountain range, an important wildlife habitat. The heatwave compounded the ongoing drought.
Meanwhile the drought in northern Italy has escalated. 170 towns in Piedmont have ordered that water only be used for essential purposes such as for drinking and food. The lack of water threatens 50% of northern Italy's agricultural production.
Heatwave in the US
More than 100 million Americans were warned to stay at home in a mid-June heatwave, which continued across the country, with forecasts that 70% of Americans will experience temperatures over 32C, and nearly 20% of the country will see the temperatures near or above 38C (100F).
Central Asia heatwave
Temperatures rose to the 40s in Uzbekistan and reached 45.9C in Saragt, Turkmenistan.
Heatwave continues in India and Pakistan
In northwest India and Pakistan, after the hottest March ever recorded, April and May continued with further record-breaking temperatures in an early heatwave described as a 'year with no spring'. The heatwave caused power and water shortages, as well as school closures. Several Indian states were struggling with forest fires, while methane caused landfill sites to catch fire in New Delhi, emitting toxic black smoke. Pakistan's climate minister said the country was facing an 'existential crisis'.
Record temperatures of above 49C were reported in parts of Delhi. Coverage of what it means for India's poor to live and work in brutal heat here, here and here, and also of life in Pakistan's hottest city, Jacobabad.
The heatwave has damaged wheat harvests, and the Indian government responded by banning wheat exports, at a time when global wheat supplies are already hit by the war in Ukraine.
Floods in Bangladesh and Assam
Meanwhile in northeast India, pre-monsoon rains caused heavy floods and landslides in the state of Assam, India, affecting over 400,000 people. Heavy rain, flooding and landslides have also affected other parts of the region.
Ongoing flooding in north-eastern Bangladesh has affected over 4 million people.
Floods in Queensland
After severe thunderstorms hit Queensland, Australia, hundreds evacuated or were rescued from flood waters. This is Queensland’s sixth severe flood event since December, including catastrophic flooding in February.
Sandstorms in Iraq
Desert sandstorms are becoming more common in Iraq due to reduced rainfall and desertification, with eight sandstorms in one month, between mid-April and mid-May. In one sandstorm 5000 Iraqis sought hospital treatment with breathing difficulties and one person died.
Mass bleaching on Great Barrier Reef
Scientists recorded the fourth mass bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef since 2016, with more than 90% of the reefs surveyed showing some bleaching. Alarmingly, this was the first mass bleaching event during a La Niña year (relatively cooler), but even this did not allow the expected respite. In December, ocean temperatures over the reef hit a record high for that month. Bleaching, where corals expell their algae under heat stress, is not always fatal. But global temperature rise above 1.5C would cause loss of almost all coral reefs.
Siberia wildfires burn unchecked
Siberia has fallen victim to increasingly devastating wildfires in recent summers due to drought and abnormally high temperatures. The current area of forest fires burning across Russia is twice as large as that of the same time last year. Many of the military firefighting forces have been sent to Ukraine.
Drought in Italy and France threatens crops.
With three months without rainfall, and a lack of snowfall in the mountains, northern Italy's Po river is drying up, threatening threatens more than 30 per cent of Italy's agricultural production. French farmers have also been hit by drought after low rainfall in both winter and spring.
Heat, drought and wildfires in US south west
In the first four months of 2022, over a million acres burned across the United States. Around 90% of the American west is in drought, and in the southwest the fire season is effectively year-round. Fires included the Arizona Tunnel fire grew to more than 32 square miles, with those evacuating reporting flames up to 30 metres high and multiple fires in New Mexico including the Calf Canyon fire, the second largest in New Mexico's history.
At least 4 people have died as a result of floods and mudslides in Uzbekistan said to be some of the worst seen in 80 years, after a month’s worth of rain fell in less than 2 hours.
Devastating floods in Durban, South Africa and the surrounding area have killed at least 448 people and destroyed about 4000 homes. The heavy rainfall was linked to climate change and the death toll was exacerbated by poor infrastructure and a lack of effective early warning systems.
An attribution study revealed that the probability of an extreme rainfall event like this has approximately doubled due to human-induced climate change.
Drought in Chile leads to water rationing
As the drought in Chile enters its 13th year, water rationing is announced in the capital, Santiago.
Heatwave in South Asia as climate shifts
India recorded the hottest March since records began, 122 years ago. March is usually a cooler month in India, coming before the hottest summer months of April and May, climate scientists believe India's spring season is shortening, The hot temperatures and low rainfall (28% of everage) have lowered wheat harvests,
At one weather station in south Pakistan, a maximum temperature of 45.5C was recorded.
War in Ukraine compounds the hunger crisis in East Africa
Up to 20 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.are facing severe food insecurity as soaring wheat prices follow the failure of three consecutive rainy seasons, Covid and desert locusts. Warming in the western Pacific strengthens La Niña and increases the probability of drought in East Africa. Exceptionally warm recent weather has also dried up water holes on which many pastoralists communities rely.
Up to eight million more people are expected to go hungry in South Sudan, which is facing a fifth consecutive year of severe flooding (see below)
Extraordinary temperatures at the poles
A heatwave in Eastern Antarctica saw a record temperature of -11.8C at one station, more than 40C warmer than seasonal norms. At the same time, some stations near the north pole reached 30C above normal, with records broken in Norway. Sea ice around Antarctica has dropped to its lowest level since measurements began in 1979.
Cyclone hits Mozambique and Malawi
Severe Tropical Cyclone Gombe killed over 50 people in Mozambique and displaced over 100,000 in Malawi.
Eastern Australian states hit by major floods
Parts of Brisbane experienced a year's rainfall in three days, with eight reported dead and 15,000 homes flooded in the city and surrounding areas. The rain then shifted into northern New South Wales. The city of Lismore was hit by the worst floods in its history with hundreds stranded and needing to be rescued and thousands evacuated
Wildfires in Argentina
Heat and drought have led to catastrophic wildfires in the north of Argentina.
UK winter storms
Back-to-back storms swept the UK in February, with many affected by flooding. Climate scientists said that more severe storms in the UK are likely with climate change, with heavier rainfall already linked to a warmer climate, although the evidence is less clear for wind speeds.
Drought in Portugal
Over nine-tenths of Portugal is enduring “severe” or “extreme” drought conditions. The frequency of droughts has increased over the last 20 years.
Floods and mudslides in Brazil
In the Brazilian city of Petropolis, a month's rain fell in one day, with at least 117 people dying in the resulting floods and mudslides.
Drought continues in the Horn of Africa
The UN warned that 13 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia face severe hunger in because of prolonged drought. Families are taking desperate measures to survive, with thousands leaving their homes in search of food, water and pasture.
Cyclone Batsirai hits Madagascar
Following hard on the heels of Storm Ana, another tropical storm hit Madagascar. The death toll from Cyclone Batsirai has been estimated at 120. The cyclone left about 124,000 people with their homes damaged or destroyed, and 30,000 displaced.
This was followed by Storm Dumako and Cyclone Emnati: four major storms in a month. A later attribution study concluded that climate change had increased the likelihood and intensity of heavy rainfall from Ana and Batsirai.
Storm Ana causes destruction across Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi
Storm Ana caused at least 48 deaths in Madagascar, with 130,000 people evacuated to makeshift shelters. Dozens more died in Mozambique, where at least 10,000 homes, along with schools and hospitals were destroyed, and Malawi, which has declared a state of natural disaster. Widespread floods have destroyed crops as well as infrastructure. Mozambique has been hit by repeated climate disasters. In 2019, after the catastrophe of Cyclones Idai and Kenneth. Mozambique was driven further into debt, having to borrow $118 million from the IMF for rebuilding.
Renewed appeals for help in Afghanistan
The country, trapped between drought and sanctions now faces a freezing winter: 98% of the population do not have enough to eat.
Flash floods in Haiti and the Dominican Republic
Thousands of people have been forced from their homes after flooding in parts of Haiti and Dominican Republic.
Floods and landslides in Ecuador
Heatwave in Argentina and surrounding areas
Floods and landslides in Brazil
Flooding and landslides in the state of Minas Gerais killed at least 15 people and displaced thousands. There were also damaging floods in the state of Sao Paolo, killing 19, and earlier in Sao Paolo and Para.
High temperatures in Western Australia, floods in Queensland
Floods in Indonesia
Floods in Montvideo, Uraguay
After a period of extremely high temperatures, storms with torrential rain caused flash floods in the capital.
2021 round up
More than 400 weather stations exceeded their all-time temperature records in 2021. Ten national temperature records were broken or equalled in 2021, including the highest ever reliably measured on Earth, in Furnace Creek, Death Valley.
Christian Aid produced a report on the climate events with the greatest financial and human impact in 2021: hurricanes in the US, China and India, floods in Australia, Europe and Canada which all cost over 1.5 billion dollars of damage, as well as drought in Africa and Latin America and floods in South Sudan.
Care International reported on the 'Most Underreported Humanitarian Crises of 2021'. Of these ten countries, the climate crisis is having a significant impact in seven: Zambia, Ukraine, Malawi, Guatemala, Burundi, Niger, Zimbabwe and Honduras.
Life at 50C. This one hour BBC documentary and series of short (15 minute) films tell the story of people in some of the regions most affected by severe heat: India, Mauritania, Canada, Nigeria, Kuwait, Australia, Iraq and Pakistan (overview and 3 min interviews)
2021 ends with abnormal warmth in Europe
Meanwhile in Alaska, unusually warm weather brought daytime temperatures above 15C (usually -10C to -4C at this time of year) with a record-breaking high of 19.4C recorded on Kodiak island. The warm temperatures came with heavy rain and snow which caused severe problems on roads as they froze to thick ice.
Hot dry weather caused wildfires which ripped through suburban areas of Boulder County, Colorado, destroying at least 1000 homes and businesses.
Super Typhoon Rai / Odette causes devastation in the Philippines
Super Typhoon Rai was only the third Category 5 super typhoon so far ever recorded in the South China Sea. It caused at least 375 deaths, with rescue workers struggling to reach survivors and over 16,000 families sheltering in cramped evacuation centers, causing concerns about water-borne diseases and Covid.
Floods in Malaysia
Unusually heavy rainfall, even for the monsoon season affected over 125,000 in Malaysia during the second half of December. By the beginning of January, almost all had returned home but almost 9,000 were still in refugee centres.
Tornadoes cause destruction across US
Five US states have been hit by a devastating series of tornadoes, levelling houses and factories, with an expected death toll of more than 100. One tornado alone followed an extraordinarily long and destructive path of more than 200 miles. Severe tornadoes are very rare outside spring and summer. They form when denser, drier cold air is pushed over warmer, humid air and winds vary in speed or direction at different altitudes, so the updraft starts to spin, extending down to the ground.
Because tornadoes are rare, scientists say it is difficult to gather evidence as to whether climate change is making them more dangerous. There is some evidence that they are now more likely to occur in clusters, and that the area where they occur may be shifting eastwards.
Coastal flooding in south Pacific islands and Papua New Guinea
The Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Federated States of Micronesia all reported coastal flooding, caused by a combination of bad weather, high tides and a La Nina weather pattern on top of a long-term rise in sea levels caused by global warming, which ultimately threatens the future of these islands.
The floods caused thousands to be displaced in Papua New Guinea.
Food crisis warning in Mali
Humanitarian organisations have warned that 1.2 million face a food crisis in Mali, caused by drought, conflict and Covid-19. As elsewhere in the Sahel region, climate change in Mali is exacerbating conflict over resources and radicalisation, with foreign land-grabbing and corruption adding to a deadly mix.
Cyclone causes severe floods in Southern Brazil
An extratropical cyclone forming off the coast of southern Brazil brought heavy rain to Bahia, with 45cm recorded in total at one location, and three deaths in the resulting floods.
Bushfires in Australia
Serious bushfires took hold in Margaret River, Western Australia in hot and windy conditions. While central Australia has experienced rare flooding, Western Australia and the Northern Territory experienced serious heatwaves late in the year and a late start to the wet season. Experts warn that widespread fires in remote regions are going unnoticed, and explain how traditional indigenous burning strategies could reduce vegetation 'fuel load' which increases the future risk of devastating fires.
Floods in Congo-Brazzaville
As of early December, weeks of heavy rain and flooding in Congo-Brazzaville have affected over 46,000. with over 6,500 displaced, 15 dead and 9 missing. IFRC said, “The affected population is exposed to bad weather, poor hygiene and waterborne diseases due to the lack of clean water. Heavy flooding has destroyed fields and livestock, affecting livelihoods."
South Sudan is ranked among the five countries in the world most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. For years, the country has been experiencing wetter-than-normal wet seasons, while its dry seasons are becoming even drier. The 2021 White Nile floods have been the worst in 60 years. The rainy season has ended but in December the flood water has not receded, and the next rainy season is only five months away. Livelihoods have been devastated, more than 850,000 people affected and around 35,000 of them displaced - adding to many more internally displaced people already living in camps having fled the earlier civil war. Report from Fangak county
Afghanistan facing 'near famine conditions'
Severe drought in Afghanistan have reduced harvests 80 to 90 per cent, and the drought is set to worsen in 2022. The World Food Programme reported that the number of Afghans living in near-famine conditions has risen to 8.7 million. Overall, almost 24 million people in Afghanistan, or 60% of the population, suffer from acute hunger. An estimated 3.2 million children under age 5 are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition by the end of the year. UNICEF also warned in September that t least 1 million children would suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year (at risk of dying without treatment), and the arrival of winter will increase suffering.
The country's agriculture depends on meltwater from mountain glaciers, snow and ice. In 2021, Afghanistan was hit with both reduced winter snowfall and below average spring rainfall. This is not just a one-off: climate change is causing more regular and more severe droughts. Droughts are predicted to become annual by 2030. There is an in-depth review here, which also points to 'at least two decades of neglect and mismanagement' leaving the country without water management resources.
The drought alone has not caused starvation, however. By the time of the Taliban’s takeover, foreign aid accounted for three-quarters of government spending. The US has cut off aid, halting the regular shipments of dollars to Afghanistan, and frozen $9.5bn of Afghanistan’s central bank assets, with European banks quickly following suit. These sanctions have led to soaring unemployment, with public employees not being paid, Unlike previous droughts, there is no safety net for rural families in seeking urban employment. Taliban bans that are keeping women from most paid jobs have also hit households in which women were the main earners. Human Rights Watch have called on the US and UN to ensure that financial transactions relating to humanitarian work are not blocked.
Drought in East Africa
The UN has reported at least 26 million people are struggling for food in the Horn of Africa following consecutive poor rainfall seasons. Of these almost 7.1 million face emergency conditions of malnutrition and over 500,000 are in catastrophic conditions critical acute malnutrition, hunger, destitution and death.
Drought conditions in northern Kenya, much of Somalia and southern Ethiopia are predicted to persist until at least mid-2022, putting lives at risk. The situation is already so bad that wild animals are dying in their hundreds and herders are reporting losses of up to 70% of their livestock.
The United Nations has warned that more than 80 percent of Somalia is estimated to be experiencing severe drought conditions. About 2.3 million people face serious water, food and pasture shortages as water pans and boreholes have dried up
Climate change is amplifying the drought-inducing capabilities of El Niños and La Niñas in East Africa, and the 2022 March-to-May rainy season, which ends eight months in the future, is also likely to be poor.
Severe flooding in British Columbia
Heavy rainfall caused disastrous flooding in Vancouver and surrounding areas of British Columbia. Thousands of people were evacuated, others became trapped on cut-off roads, and several towns were completely cut off (more coverage here and here). Mud and landslides destroyed parts of major highways. At least four people were killed. The rain was brought by an 'atmospheric river', a narrow corridor of concentrated moisture in the atmosphere. These are predicted to intensify with global warming.
The flooding was made worse both by clear-cut logging but also by wildfires in the summer having destroyed vegetation, exacerbated by the unprecedented heatwave in British Columbia and the Pacific North West. The region has been hit by successive climate disasters, first heatwaves and wildfires then floods.
Monsoon rains bring floods and landslides to southeastern India and Sri Lanka
In Tamil Nadu, 11,000 had to leave their homes to escape floods and 14 have been reported killed. In Andhra Pradesh, at least 24 people lost their lives and over 31,000 were displaced. At least 20 people died in floods, landslides and lightning strikes in Sri Lanka following almost 2 weeks of heavy rain
Floods and landslides in Vietnam
At least 2 people have died and over 2,500 homes damaged after flooding and landslides struck in central provinces of Vietnam following days of heavy rain. [Update: over 60,000 houses flooded and at least 18 dead or missing]
Heavy rain and floods across Australia
Floods in Spain
Floods in Malta
Malta experienced a whole month's rain in 24 hours, causing dramatic floods.
Drought worsens in Madagascar
Humanitarian organisations report that the drought in the Grand Sud region of Madagascar has worsened. Over 1.3 million people were severely food insecure at the beginning of the annual lean season (October to April), including at least 28,000 people facing famine-like conditions, and while the humanitarian response has stepped up, more support is urgently needed.
Floods in China
More than 1.76 million people were affected by severe flooding in China's northern Shanxi province. Across the province, over 120,000 people were resettled, and 17,000 homes collapsed.
Storms in the US
A 'bomb cyclone' in the Pacific, when air pressure rapidly drops as the storm explosively strengthens, hit the west coast of the US, bringing in heavy rainfall. In California, suffering from long-term drought, there were mudslides and rock slides, especially in areas where burn scars had been created by wildfires. The storm brought record rainfall to some areas, killing two in Seattle and leaving hundreds of thousands without power and then moved eastwards.
Floods in India and Nepal
More than 180 people died after heavy rainfall triggered flash floods in Nepal and the Indian states of Uttarakhand and Kerala. Situated between the mountains of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea,whose rissing temperatures makes heavy rainfall events more likely, Kerala is witnessing more deadly floods and landslides in recent years. Almost half (43%) of Kerala is vulnerable to landslips and landslides. Uttarakhand received ten times as much rain as it usually does in the whole of November.
Floods in Indonesia
Floods and landslides in South Sulawesi and Kalimantan left four people dead.
Floods in Cote d'Ivoire
At least 4 people have died and several were injured after heavy rain caused flooding in the city of Abidjan.
Hurricane Ida was one of three hurricanes in recorded history to make landfall in Louisiana with 150 mph winds on landfall. Early in its development it caused heavy rains and landslides in Venezuela, killing 20, and destroyed homes in Cuba. Heavy infrastructure damage occurred in southeastern Louisiana, as well as extremely heavy flooding in coastal areas. More than a million people in total had no electrical power. When the remnants of the storm reached the Northeastern United States in the beginning of September, it brought several intense tornadoes and catastrophic flash flooding, killing at least 46 people.
Heavy rains and flash floods hit 13 of Sudan’s 18 states, affecting more than 288,000 residents and refugees from earlier floods in South Sudan. In neighbouring South Sudan, the deluge affected and displaced about 426,000 people, exacerbating the swelling humanitarian needs in Sudan.
Monsoon flooding in South Asia
Severe flooding in the state of Gujarat on the western coast of India affected over 1.6 million people, with over 7000 displaced, and two deaths reported. Some areas recorded more than 50 cm of rain in 24 hours. Heavy rains also caused severe flooding in West Bengal, at least 10 people lost their lives and more than 1.2 million people were affected.
Ongoing drought in East Africa
President Kenyatta officially declared drought in parts of Kenya a national disaster.
Flooding in Thailand and Malaysia
There was heavy rainfall and floods in several provinces covering about a third of Thailand, influenced by tropical storm Dianmu. Severe flooding swept through parts of Sabah State in Malaysia after heavy rain on 15 September.
Severe flash floods hit the Nigerian capital Abuja and Federal Capital Territory, claiming the lives of 4 people.
At least 5 people have died and thousands left homeless after heavy rain and floods caused severe damage in areas of Guinea from late August.
Flooding of rivers in northern Colombia
Over 50,000 people were affected by floods in northern Colombia.
Heatwave and wildfires hit the Mediterranean
Wildfires raged across Greece, with 2,600 evacuated from the island of Evia, and the EU mounting its largest firefighting operations ever. There was also wildfires in Italy, in Turkey and in Algeria where 65 died.
Analysis showed that the record-breaking temperatures would have been impossible without climate change.
Floods in Sudan and South Sudan
Storms hit Japan
Southern and western Japan have been battered by storms - several people are dead and more than 1 million told to evacuate.
During this month, extreme weather was rarely out of the news. The report below is taken from an earlier blog post.
Famine looms in Madagascar
Madagascar is on the brink of a famine it played little part in creating. In Southern Madagascar, a four-year drought and vicious sandstorms have destroyed crops and turned arable land to desert. As many as 500,000 are nearing starvation.
Unprecedented heatwave in North America
‘Nowhere is safe’: heat shatters vision of Pacific north-west as climate refuge. A 'heat dome' brought unprecedented heat to the US Pacific north-west and western Canada. Known for mild summers, cities were unprepared for record temperatures of up to 42.2C (Seattle) and 46.7C (Portland, Oregon). Some inland areas managed to get up to 118F (47.8C). Hospitals suddenly found themselves overwhelmed, with several hundred people believed to have died in the heat. The town of Lytton shattered the previous heat record for Canada (45C), reaching 49.6C before residents fled a devastating wildfire, which destroyed large parts of the town. Temperature records are usually broken by fractions of degrees.
This is only part of a long-term trend - a 22 year megadrought as reduced snowfall mean reservoirs are not being replenished, causing an existential crisis for farmers and populations in the American West. In the western US, currently 85% is in 'severe drought', with two-thirds (65%) in 'extreme' or 'exceptional' drought.
Heat and drought combined led to the West erupting in fierce wildfires. In Oregon, the Bootleg Fire has burned over 410,000 acres (over 1650 km2, more than the area of Greater London), and was powerful enough to generate dangerous columns of lightning-charged smoke and ash, reaching the stratosphere. The smoke from fires causes serious health problems, and has reached as far as the east coast, with New York issuing air quality warnings. In California, 2020 was the worst fire season on record, burning double the previous area. But 2021 is currently ahead of the trend for 2020, with 900 more fires compared to this time last year.
Heatwave in northern Europe and Siberian wildfires
‘Everything is on fire’: Siberia hit by unprecedented burning Extraordinary forest fires, which have already burned through 1.5m hectares (3.7m acres) of land in north-east Siberia have released choking smog across Russia’s Yakutia region, where officials have described this summer’s weather as the driest in the past 150 years. Fires have sparked one of the world's worst ever air pollution events.
Abnormal heat across Russia, combined with low rainfall, is expected to damage this year's harvest if conditions do not change.
Norway, Sweden and Finland have also been experiencing a heatwave. Lapland recorded its hottest temperature for more than a century.
South Asia heat records
Wet-bulb temperatures (WBT) combine heat and humidity into a single measure, representing the human body's ability to regulate to a safe temperature. At 35C WBT, even fit, acclimatised people who sit in the shade die within about 6 hours. With 2C global heating. it is predicted almost all of India would see 33-35C WBT at least every 8 years. The city of Jacobabad in Pakistan reached 52C, which with high humidity represented a WBT of 35C
As temperatures in Baghdad and southern provinces of Iraq rose up to 52C, power cuts left many without electricity for days, a reminder that climate impacts oftern come on top of existing conflict, inequality and infrastructure failure.
Devastating floods in China
Death toll rises and thousands flee homes as floods hit China Days of torrential rain and massive flooding hit China’s southeastern Henan province, bursting the banks of rivers, overwhelming dams and the public transport system and forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes. At least 25 people have been killed and seven are missing in the provincial capital, Zhengzhou as the subway system flooded. The rain was extraordinarily intense: the average annual rainfall in Zhengzhou is around 64cm. In 24 hours over 55cm fell, with over 20cm In just one hour.
Just two weeks previously, heavy rain in Sichuan province affected more than 120,000 people, with the city of Dazhou evacuating more than 4,600 hit by rising water and landslides and damage of an estimated US$27 million. Floods in Jiangxi also caused 60,000 to be evacuated.
Floods in northern Europe
More than 190 people have died in flooding caused by heavy rainfall. The district of Ahrweiler in Rhineland-Palatinate, south of Cologne, was the worst-hit area, with at least 117 people killed, and homes and roads torn up. At least 31 died in Belgium (further floods 10 days later in the town of Dinant caused damage but no deaths). In Austria, severe flooding also occurred but without fatalities. London was also affected by flooding.
Floods in Turkey and Iran
Mountainous north-eastern Turkey, bordering the Black Sea, is already flood-prone, with most flat land available for building in river valleys. Climate change is making rain heavier. Floods and landslides killed six in Rize, with further severe flooding a week later.
Extreme rainfall brings flooding in South Asia
In Maharashtra in India, torrential monsoon rains caused landslides and flooding. The state has recorded its heaviest spell of July rain for decades.A record 1.5m rainfall over 72 hours was reported in the hill town of Mahabaleshwar, causing a deadly landslide downstream in the coastal region. The total death toll is now at least 192.
Earlier in the month, dozens died in Mumbai in a landslide caused by monsoon rains. There were also fatalities from landslides in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, while a million people were affected by flooding and 7,400 evacuated in Bihar. Heavy rain and landslides also affected Nepal and Pakistan. In recent years, the monsoon has shifted towards long dry spells broken up by burst of extreme rainfall, which are more likely to flood drains and overwhelm infrastructure
In Bangladesh, floods and landslides destroyed shelters and killed eight people in Rohingya refugee camps, highlighting again how the poorest and most vulnerable are located on the frontline of climate impacts.
Floods and landslides in Japan, South Korea, South East Asia
A landslide killed at least two people in the resort city of Atami in Japan. Landslides are common in Japan, but have increased in frequency by 50% in the past decade, attributed to the rise in heavy rainfall due to climate change.
Two people were killed in floods and landslides in South Korea, Over 80,000 people evacuated their homes in the Philippines after flooding caused by a combination of the monsoon and Typhoon Fabian, while over 2000 homes were damaged by floods and landslides in Indonesia.
New Zealand flooding
New Zealand's west coast was hit by severe flooding after heavy rain, as was the Marlborough region. Climate scientists explained that the flooding was due to a phenomenon called an 'atmospheric river', exacerbated by climate change.
Floods across the Americas
Heavy flooding affected tens of thousands in Costa Rica and Panama, also in northern Colombia in Magdalena and Antioquia Departments. In the US, there were floods in Alabama, Arizona, South Texas, and New York, where rain from Storm Elsa flooded the New York subway.