The shift in weather patterns toward the extreme is being noted worldwide and occurring at an alarming rate. A recent article in the Washington Post pointed out that just as the world recorded its hottest month of June on record, we then recorded earth’s hottest day on record in July. That record broke 16 more times last month. July is currently the hottest month the planet has ever recorded. The WP report added, “The previously abnormal is becoming our normal.”
This is not a trend but a shift into a new way the world is working. Experts suggest we will not remember 2023 as anything significant because of how fast climate change is impacting the planet. While many are witnessing the hottest months of their lifetime, these could be the coolest months of their life for young people.
Following are some highlights from the first ten days of August on the climate change front from around the world.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that the US has already experienced 15 weather-related disasters in 2023, with expenses totaling more than $1 billion each. That is more than any prior year measured from January to July. The string of natural disasters is unlikely to slow for the rest of the year.
This news comes as NOAA also announced the US broke nearly 3,000 heat records during July.
This week, severe storms from Alabama to New York resulted in power outages for approximately 700,000 people and multiple deaths.
Hurricane Dora, a Category 4 storm in the Pacific Ocean, produced winds that drove wildfires 700 miles away in Hawaii this week. Apocalyptic images showed people diving into the sea to escape the wildfires. At the time of this writing, the fires are still not under control and have killed 55 people.
Unusual Weather Conditions Are Driving Maui’s Wildfires (New York Times)
Northern Europe experienced a barrage of weather-related chaos as the powerful storm Hans swept through the region. Norway experienced the most devastating effects of this tumult as widespread flooding and landslides placed much of the country on red alert. As widespread flooding led to the partial collapse of a dam, evacuations and road closures followed. Authorities say they have never seen anything like this.
The Prime Minister of Slovenia said this month’s flooding created the worst natural disaster in the country’s history.
High temperatures and strong winds increased the severity of wildfires in Portugal, leading to the evacuation of more than 1,000 people.
In the global review report for the month of July, I mentioned the impact of Typhoon Doksuri on Beijing. While that storm dissipated, the rains continued, moving into northern China during the first week of August. More than a million people were forced from their homes. While buildings, bridges, and highways washed away, at least 30 people died in the flooding. Some 59,000 homes collapsed in the flooding. It is the heaviest flooding this area of China has experienced in 140 years.
Even as Sudan deals with its growing civil war and concerns of ethnic cleansing, flooding has damaged hundreds of houses. This is occurring in an area of the country that, prior to the last five years, seldom saw rain and was considered a desert. The flooding is leading to disease outbreaks such as cholera, even while the war has devastated the medical system.
Ongoing droughts in Latin America have lowered the waters at the Panama Canal and created a traffic jam through the vital shipping route. The number of vessels waiting to cross the canal currently stands at 154.
In other parts of the region, a heat wave has unfolded in the midst of winter.