Signs that climate change is beginning to affect worldwide weather emerged this week as catastrophic flooding swept through Germany and China while the US and Russia battle widespread wildfires.
This past week extreme weather struck around the world. Europe and China have been overcome by flooding, while the United States is dealing with massive, multiple wildfires.
According to experts, this summer’s extreme weather is a consequence of the worsening climate crisis, Business Insider reported.
This week, devastating, extreme weather struck three continents at once: Europe, North America, and Asia.
As of Wednesday, at least 16 people died due to extreme flooding in Zhengzhou, Reuters reported. Roads were flooded entirely, and fast-flowing waters trapped in at least 500 people in a subway on Tuesday night. People panicked as cellphones died or were nearly dead, as many sent “goodbye” messages giving loved ones critical passwords and bank card numbers, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Devastating floodwaters flattened rural communities in Germany, the Los Angeles Times reported. As of Wednesday, the death toll across Germany, Belgium, and Austria were over 200.
Earlier this summer, India saw deadly mudslides, while parts of New Zealand, Nigeria, and Iran saw devastation. The current heatwaves worldwide have sparked huge and numerous fires that can be seen from space over the western United States and Canada.
On July 12, London side downpour delivered a month’s worth of rain, leading to flash floods and shut down of the underground rail system.
In Russia’s Siberia, firefighters have been battling nearly 200 separate forest fires.
The Bootleg Fire in Oregon is so large that it is creating its own weather in the US. Overall in the West, as of Tuesday, officials said at least 83 files were burning across 13 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
The UK and Ireland are also experiencing heat waves. In the UK this week, the weather office issued its first-ever extreme heat warning, the Irish Times reported.
On July 12, Death Valley, California, one of the hottest places on Earth, recorded a temperature of 133 degrees, which scientists believe will prove to be the highest reliably recorded temperature on Earth, the Guardian reported. US National Weather Service did the measurement measured the temperature at Furnace Creek in Death Valley. Although slightly higher recorded temperature was made over 100 years ago, experts say the equipment was less precise.
In late June, Canada set a record for its hottest recorded temperature ever – 116 degrees – which is only 1 degree shy of the hottest temperature on record for Las Vegas, NBC reported.
The extreme heat in the West is believed to be responsible for hundreds of deaths in the Pacific Northwest in the last month.
John P. Holdren, a professor of environmental policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, told the Times, “All of this was predicted in climate science decades ago.”
“We only had to wait for the actual emergence in the last 15 to 20 years,” Holdren added. “Everything we worried about is happening, and it’s all happening at the high end of projections, even faster than the previous most pessimistic estimates.”
Climate scientists also believe climate change will increase precipitation events.
“With climate change, we do expect all hydro-meteorological extremes to become more extreme,” said Carlo Buontempo, the director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the Guardian reported. “What we have seen in Germany is broadly consistent with this trend.”