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World News May 14, 2024

Are weather and climate extremes the ‘new normal’?

Recent extreme weather events around the globe have led to significant loss of life and widespread devastation:

Afghanistan: Over 330 people were killed by rainstorms and flash floods, with northern Baghlan province being the hardest hit, reporting more than 300 deaths and over 1,000 houses destroyed.

Brazil: The state of Rio Grande do Sul experienced two weeks of record rainfall, resulting in severe flooding and mudslides. The death toll reached 143, with 125 people missing and over 600,000 evacuated. Porto Alegre, the state capital, was heavily inundated. Governor Eduardo Leite estimated the cost of rebuilding at 19 billion reais ($3.7 billion).

Indonesia: Flash flooding caused by heavy rains led to lava floods in West Sumatra province, killing 34 people and leaving at least five others missing. The floods, triggered by the Marapi volcano, submerged many buildings in the Tanah Datar and Agam regencies.

Thailand: A severe drought has significantly reduced sugar cane output, potentially disrupting global sugar supply. As the world’s second-largest sugar exporter, Thailand’s decreased production underscores the broader impact of extreme weather on agriculture.

Cambodia: The renowned Kampot pepper, known for its intense floral flavor, faces threats from extreme weather, affecting local agriculture.

Climate experts highlight that such extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense due to global warming. Alvaro Silva of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) noted the increase in extreme weather over recent decades. The WMO’s updated guidelines for record evaluation reflect the growing need for accurate assessment of these events. Chao Qingchen of the National Climate Center of China emphasized the global nature of climate change, which requires enhanced prevention and relief measures to cope with increasingly complex disasters.

Source – CGTN

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