From killer heatwaves to floods, climate change worsened weather extremes in 2021
February -- A blistering cold spell hit normally warm Texas, killing 125 people in the state and leaving millions without power in freezing temperatures. Scientists have not yet reached a conclusion on whether climate change caused the extreme...more
Historically, frigid temperatures have been contained within the Arctic by a jet stream circling the polar region. But as the Arctic has warmed more than twice as fast as the global average over the last three decades, the polar jet stream may be...more
February -- Kenya and other parts of East Africa battled some of the worst locust plagues in decades, with the insects destroying crops and grazing grounds. Swarms, containing up to 80 million locusts per square meter, can travel up to 150 km (93...more
March -- Beijing's sky turned orange and flights were grounded during the Chinese capital's worst sandstorm in a decade. The region is prone to such storms because of its location near the massive Gobi desert, while deforestation and overgrazing have...more
In an effort to combat these storms, China has engaged in a massive tree-planting mission over the past several decades, growing its total forest cover from less than 10% in 1949 to nearly a quarter of the country's land. Busloads of volunteers...more
June -- Nearly all of the western United States was gripped by a drought that emerged in early 2020. Farmers abandoned crops, officials announced emergency measures, and the Hoover Dam reservoir hit an all-time low level mark. By September, the U.S....more
June -- Hundreds of people died in North America during a record-smashing June heatwave in the U.S. and Canadian Pacific Northwest, which scientists concluded would have been "virtually impossible" without climate change. Over several days, power...more
July -- Catastrophic flooding killed more than 300 people in central China's Henan province in July when a year's worth of rain fell in just three days. Direct economic losses reached 114.27 billion yuan ($18 billion), and more than a million farm...more
Meanwhile in Europe, nearly 200 people died as torrential rains soaked Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Germany, which saw the worst flooding, had an estimated 37,000 buildings affected with reconstruction costs projected in the billions of...more
July -- A record heatwave and drought in the U.S. West gave rise to two massive wildfires that tore through California and Oregon. California's Dixie Fire destroyed more than 1,300 structures and consumed nearly 1 million acres (4,000 square km),...more
In Oregon, the Bootleg fire destroyed over 400,000 acres (1,600 square km) - more than half the landmass of Rhode Island, the U.S. Forest Service reported. Only two other Oregon wildfires over the last century have consumed more acreage, according to...more
July - Large parts of South America are suffering from a prolonged drought. While Chile is enduring a decade-long megadrought linked to global warming, this year Brazil saw one of its driest years in a century. In Argentina, the Parana, South...more
August -- In the Mediterranean, a hot and dry summer fanned intense blazes that forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes in Algeria, Greece and Turkey. The fires, which killed two people in Greece and at least 65 in Algeria, struck amid an...more
Late August - Nearly all the world's mountain glaciers are retreating due to global warming. For more than a decade now, people have used insulating blankets to slow this retreat. In the Alps, Swiss resort employees laid protective blankets over one...more
The rapid melting of glaciers is responsible for a significant portion of sea level rise, which in turn causes coastal flooding, habitat losses and coastal erosion. Glaciers are disappearing faster than initially expected because of giant ice caves...more
August/September -- Hurricane Ida, which hit Louisiana as a Category 4 storm, killed nearly 100 people in the United States and caused an estimated $64 billion in damage, according to the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Climate...more
As the remnants of Ida moved inland, the heavy rains created flash flooding across the densely populated Northeast, vastly increasing the storm's death toll. PICTURED: First responders pull local residents in a boat as they perform rescues of people...more
September -- Infrastructure and homes in Russia are increasingly in peril as underground permafrost melts and deforms the land underneath them. Russia could face 7 trillion roubles ($97 billion) in infrastructure damage by 2050 if the rate of warming...more
Permafrost was once a stable construction base, in some regions staying frozen as far back as the last Ice Age. But rising global temperatures threaten the layer of ice, soil, rocks, sand and organic matter. The melting has been further sped up by...more
November - The worst floods in 60 years in South Sudan have affected about 780,000 people, or one in every 14 residents, according to the U.N. refugee agency. Every year the county goes through a rainy season, but flooding has set records for three...more
November -- A massive storm dumped a month's worth of rain over two days in the Canadian province of British Columbia unleashing floods and mudslides that destroyed roads, railroads and bridges. It is likely the most expensive natural disaster in...more
The storm, which killed four people, also exposed fragility in Canada's supply chain, with the storm cutting off access to a key Vancouver shipping terminal in one of the world's biggest exporting nations. PICTURED: A home surrounded by floodwaters...more
In pictures: Night of devastating tornadoes likely kills more than 100 in Kentucky
At least 100 people were feared dead in Kentucky after a swarm of tornadoes tore a 200-mile path through the U.S. Midwest and South.
Verstappen beats Hamilton in final lap to claim F1 title
Red Bull's Max Verstappen won the Formula One championship, denying Lewis Hamilton a record eighth, with a last-lap overtake to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Path of destruction: Tornadoes aftermath from above
One tornado tore across 227 miles (365 km) of terrain, almost all of that in Kentucky, and more images from the deadly aftermath.
No hope of more survivors after tornadoes destroy Amazon warehouse
Six Amazon were confirmed dead on Saturday after a series of tornadoes roared through a warehouse near St. Louis, ripping off its roof and causing 11-inch thick...
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