In recent history, climate change has been at the forefront in contributing to hazards in weather cycles culminating in a multitude of worst incidents to mankind.
With the long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns such as hurricanes, droughts and wildfires, flooding, and high winds, we are currently witnessing a scale of destruction and devastation that is new and terrifying.
Since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas, but in the last thirty years, the number of climate-related disasters has tripled.
Between 2006 and 2016, the rate of global sea-level rise was 2.5 times faster than it had been for almost the whole of the 20th century with more than 20 million people a year forced from their homes by climate change.
The last year alone was a series of devastating climate disasters in various parts of the world such as Cyclone Idai, deadly heatwaves in India, Pakistan, and Europe, and flooding in southeast Asia.
From Mozambique to Bangladesh, millions of people have already lost their homes, livelihoods, and loved ones as a result of more dangerous and more frequent extreme weather conditions.
The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that adapting to climate change and coping with damages will cost developing countries $140 billion to $300 billion per year by 2030.
The Most Severe Climate Phenomena
Australia faced its worst ever devastating bushfire season following on from its hottest year on record which had left soil and fuels exceptionally dry. Fires have burned through more than ten million hectares, killed at least 28 people, razed entire communities to the ground, left thousands of families homeless, and left millions of people affected by a hazardous smoke haze.
These wildfires were also witnessed in many European countries, including the 2021 Greece fires in Evia with unbearable impacts on people’s livelihood in Portugal, Germany, and Spain and California, where the recent 2022 fires posed serious threats.
The El Niño period in Central America’s Dry Corridor followed by the climate crisis has plagued the region with droughts for the last six years. Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua are seeing their typical three-month dry seasons extended to six months or more.
Crops have failed, leaving over 3.5 million people, many of whom rely on farming for both food and livelihood, in need of humanitarian assistance, while 2.5 million people remain food insecure.
In the Horn of Africa, severe droughts in 2011, 2017, and 2019 wiped-out crops and livestock leaving millions of people in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia in need of aid.
Floods and typhoons
Over the last year, deadly floods and landslides have forced twelve million people from their homes in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Only two years ago, exceptionally heavy monsoon rains and intense flooding destroyed, killed, and devastated lives in the same countries. In certain areas, the flooding was the worst in nearly thirty years, and a third of Bangladesh was underwater.
While some flooding is expected during the monsoon season, scientists say the region’s monsoon rains have been intensified by rising sea surface temperatures in South Asia.
To a greater extent, research attributes climate change to numerous diverse effects of a global scale and scientists warn of imminent damage if issues are not appropriately addressed.