The death toll from the wildfires in Hawaii rose to 111, marking this disaster as the worst US wildfire in the last century. There are still 1,300 people missing, and officials fear the total number of deaths will continue to rise in the coming days. Several causes led to this disaster, but pundits must include climate change among them. Hurricane winds in the Pacific and ongoing drought caused fires to intensify early on, and they moved faster than anyone would have predicted.
A new hurricane in the Pacific, tagged Hurricane Hillary, has triggered the first tropical storm watch in California’s history. This month, extreme flooding and weather events have affected different parts of the globe, including Norway, Japan, China, and India.
Canada has experienced some of its worst wildfires in modern history this summer. This week the government evacuated the entire capital of the Northwest Territories due to ongoing fires. So far, 33 million acres in Canada have burned. Additional fires are burning in British Columbia, Greece, and the Canary Islands, with extreme heat serving as a leading contributor in each of these.
As the US took stock following the hottest month ever recorded (July), experts are recognizing more fallout. In Phoenix, the hottest city in the country, as many as 300 people may have died due to heat in July. Heat deaths in Phoenix have more than quadrupled during the last decade. The city saw temperatures at 115 degrees Fahrenheit for more than half the days of July.
Since March, global average sea temperatures have destroyed previous records for heat. These record setting temperatures are creating new havoc in the ocean’s ecosystems. This article from WIRED Magazine’s websitenoted the following:
“The sea has absorbed around 90 percent of the excess heat humanity has pumped into the atmosphere—and it shows. By 2014, half of the world’s ocean surface was logging temperatures once considered extreme, which rose to 57 percent by 2019. In other words, extreme heat has become the new normal.”
And, of course, there are other secondary effects of the rising heat on the planet. Different parts of the world are seeing an increase in dengue fever outbreaks due to higher temperatures. Florida is now on a watch list for growth in confirmed dengue cases. Peru declared a national health emergency for the rising number of dengue cases among its citizens.
In Iraq, water scarcity has led to losing a signature rice crop. The timing of that issue could not be worse as many parts of the world hoped to use rice as a substitute for lost grain following the shortages from the Russia-Ukraine War.