There have been five major mass extinctions in the Earth’s 4.5 billion-year history, and scientists look to the past to understand how climate change is now affecting global diversity in ways that may be irreversible. According to Live Science, we are at the beginning of the sixth mass extinction.
Here is an incomplete list of climate disasters in 2022
The United Nations Environment Programme recently warned that Lake Powell and Lake Mead, the two largest reservoirs in the country, are in danger of reaching “dead pool status.” At that point, the water levels would no longer flow downstream to power the hydroelectric power stations. In May, the Bureau of Reclamation said that there is a 25 percent chance the lake’s water levels would fall too low to produce electricity by 2024, reports the UK Independent
According to a UCLA study, Western States experienced a megadrought that was the most extreme in the last 1,200 years.
China has a severe drought, with 66 rivers in China’s southwestern region dried up, and crops in 10 regions are affected due to extreme heat waves. China’s largest freshwater lake has dwindled to a record low and declared a water supply “red alert” for the first time. A total of 10 reservoirs in Anhui province have fallen below the “dead pool” level and cannot discharge water downstream.
The Rhine River in Germany is usually 6.5 feet, but in some places has fallen to 3.2 feet. It is one of the busiest waterways in the world, but in one section, it is only 22 inches and is impassable at some points stopping shipments of energy and products.
France is reducing its nuclear power station output due to the Rhone and Garonne rivers being too hot to cool the power plants due to heat waves.
The Loire river is so low it can be crossed on foot. This is France’s worst drought since records began.
The European Commission Joint Research Center has warned that the current drought could be the worst in 500 years.
The droughts in Europe have made the “Hunger Stones” visible in some Czech and German rivers. These stones were used to mark desperately low river levels that forecast famines. A hunger stone in the Elbe river is from 1616 and says, “If you see me, cry.”
Extreme heat over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in July across Portugal, Spain, and France. Wildfires ripped across the landscape, forcing thousands of people to evacuate.
Ten cities in Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas broke high-temperature records, some by as much as six degrees Fahrenheit, as reported in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
China has issued alerts to residents in 70 cities as temperatures rose to 104 degrees Fahrenheit
FIRES AND WILDFIRES
The United States experienced two significant winter fires in Colorado and California. Now fires are extending through December and into January. It’s not just the California fire season anymore; it’s now all year long.
France fights a series of forest fires, and thousands of people have been evacuated. France is experiencing the second hottest month on record, and it’s not over yet.
During England’s record-breaking July heatwave, scores of homes were destroyed by fire.
The US experienced four flooding events in an 11-day span that generally would be expected once every thousand years.
Beginning on July 24, 2022, and lasting for a week, flash flooding hit Missouri, Illinois, St. Louis, Eastern Kentucky, and Southwest Virginia.
Over 8 inches of heavy rain in Kentucky created significant amounts of flash flooding. The rains were constant and continued into the first few days of August. More than 100 bridges were damaged or destroyed, homes washed away, and roads blocked by debris or washed away. Many homes were washed away, and thousands of homes were flooded. This historic flooding in Kentucky leaves at least 39 dead and hundreds missing.
In Yellowstone National Park, a 500-year flood event damaged and closed roads and buildings were washed away by raging waters following days of exceptionally heavy rainfall in June 2022. The park is closed for a week, while some sections will be closed longer. Long-term reconstructions of some damaged areas may take years.
In St. Louis, Missouri, city streets and houses were underwater, followed by a severe storm that hit Illinois.
Death Valley, California, got a year’s worth of rain in three hours. That washed away hundreds of miles of roads.
India and Bangladesh
Over 9 million people in both countries are experiencing deadly floods, and around 300 people have been killed. Millions are living in about 440 relief centers.
Cataclysmic flooding in Pakistan, triggered by unprecedented monsoon rainfall and glacial melting, has killed over 1,000 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes. Also, millions of acres of crops affect 30 million Pakistanis and cause billions of dollars in damage.
ARCTIC AND ANTARCTIC
The Arctic is heating up early, four times faster than the whole planet, according to a recent study by Mika Rantanen of the Finnish Meteorological Institute and published in the journal Communications Earth and Environment.
Heat waves have driven wildfires, and ice melts in the circumpolar region, including Alaska, Arctic, Canada, Greenland, Scandinavia, and Siberia.
Trees are growing in the Arctic tundra, which is not predicted to happen until 2122.
The glaciers of Antarctica are melting rapidly due to global warming.
Two new NASA studies show the fast pace of Antarctic ice melt. The edges of ice shelves are breaking off faster than previously measured, with warm ocean water flowing farther under the ice.
Hurricane season is just starting, so we don’t know all the damage from hurricanes in 2022 yet.
As long as governments continue to subsidize the gas and oil industry, climate change will get more dangerous and disastrous each year.
There are solutions to climate change, and here is a link to a few Greenpeace solutions: