Climate change, natural disasters March 2022-

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Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference – 6-18 November 2022

 the International Disaster Charter website
NASA Applied Science Disasters website

29-30 September
Typhoon Noru wreaks havoc across south-east Asia
James Parrish and Lauren Herdman (MetDesk)
As Hurricane Ian hits the Americas, Noru has been ripping through the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand
On Tuesday, Typhoon Noru struck south of the city of Da Nang in Vietnam, heading westwards to Thailand. Initially a tropical storm, Noru originated in the Philippine Sea on 23 September, propagating westwards while gathering moisture and strengthening.
Classified as a very strong typhoon, Noru made landfall in the Philippines on Sunday with 83mph winds. Passing through Manila, a lack of moisture degraded Noru, returning it to typhoon status.
Hurricane Ian, meanwhile, hit western Cuba as a category 3 hurricane on Tuesday, with winds of up to 125mph and caused enough damage to knock out the island’s entire power grid and disrupt water supplies. Work to restore the electricity is ongoing, and at least two people have died.

Storm re-intensifies after ‘historic’ damage
Death toll remains unclear as Florida Gov. DeSantis describes flooding as a one-in-500-year event
After devastating Florida, Ian becomes a hurricane again and heads for South Carolina
(NPR) The storm is thought to have brought more than 17 inches of rain over West-Central Florida, the National Weather Service says.
The historic Naples Pier was reportedly destroyed under waves at least 20 feet high, and parts of the only bridge linking Sanibel Island to the mainland were washed away.
The two coastal counties hit the hardest — Lee County, home to Fort Myers and Cape Coral, and Charlotte County to the north — are “basically off the grid,” the governor said.

25 September
How Hurricane Fiona turned the barely imaginable into the all-too possible — and what it means for future storms
In this instance, …the storm’s unusual severity was determined by a fateful confluence of conditions, including low wind shear and a path that kept it over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream as it moved north.
As a result, unlike most tropical storms and hurricanes that reach Canada, Fiona lost little of its strength by the time it slammed into a wide swath of the Atlantic coast, centred on a point in Guysborough County Nova Scotia. From there it sped on to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, leaving destruction in its wake.
In a special report on oceans produced in 2019, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made clear that the first and most pronounced effect of climate change for many living in coastal regions would not be the gradual rise in average sea level around the globe, but the increasing likelihood of high-water events as a consequence of sea-level rise.
In parts of Atlantic Canada, high-water events that occurred on average about once per century in the recent past could come to be annual events by the 2060s, according to climate projections. That means if Fiona is the outlier today, it is unlikely to stay that way.
Precisely how much of Fiona’s impact can be attributed to climate change has yet to be determined, Dr. [Adam Fenech, the director of the University of Prince Edward Island’s climate lab] said. That will have to wait until he and other researchers can run detailed computer simulations of the storm using the same initial conditions and seeing what happens with and without the presence of warming linked to greenhouse gas emissions.
But previous work already suggests climate change is having an effect on tropical systems that enter Canadian waters.

19 September
Major earthquake shakes Mexico on anniversary of two previous tremors
Quake registered at 7.5 magnitude and struck off the coast of La Placita de Morelos on the anniversary of two devastating tremors
Alarms for the new quake came less than an hour after a nationwide earthquake simulation marking the 1985 and 2017 quakes.

13 September
Jeffrey D. Sachs: Pakistan and the Fight for Climate Justice
Too often, rich countries deny their historical responsibilities, whether it be for colonialism, slavery, or today’s mounting climate damage. But the developing world will not forget the leading role that industrialized economies have played in permanently altering the climate and making catastrophic events more likely.
(Project Syndicate)  Around the world, 2022 has been a year of climate catastrophes, including droughts, floods, mega-fires, typhoons, and more. Among the hardest-hit countries is Pakistan. With torrential monsoon rainfall almost 190% above its 30-year average, extraordinary flooding has submerged one-third of the country and killed 1,400 people so far. But make no mistake: this is not only a “natural disaster”; rather, it is also the result of malfeasance for which high-income countries must bear major financial responsibility.
Pakistan’s floods can be clearly linked to human-induced climate change. Because warmer air holds more moisture, higher temperatures generally mean heavier monsoons. While monsoons have a natural year-to-year variation (being strong in some years and weak in others), the probability distribution is shifting toward heavier rainfall. The melting of Himalayan glaciers due to rising temperatures may also be contributing to increased flooding, and the same is likely true of land-use changes, including deforestation and poorly designed infrastructure.
The world’s rich countries… have deprived Pakistan of the long-term climatic conditions on which it has built its economy, homes, farms, and infrastructure. If there was a global climate court, Pakistan’s government would have a strong case against the US and other high-income countries for failing to limit climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions (GHGs). But since there is no global climate court (yet), governments should act like one and allocate the attributable climate losses and damages to those countries that are historically responsible for them. Pakistan (and its neighbors in the Himalayas) would of course have the core responsibility for sustainable management of the land, including reforestation and climate-safe infrastructure.

6 September
Historic, unforgiving Western heat wave is peaking and crushing records
California’s inland and valley regions are seeing unprecedented September temperatures over 110 degrees, while the state’s power grid is near the brink
Climate change connection
While extreme heat events are not caused by climate change, human influence on our atmosphere is making them more frequent, intense, prolonged and, in some cases, larger. It propels already high-end events into record territory.
Breaking records by large margins, the heat wave bears shades of the unprecedented events that torched the Pacific Northwest in June of 2021 and the United Kingdom Britain in July, both of which scientists concluded would have been virtually impossible without human-caused climate change.

5 September
Residential green spaces protect growing cities against climate change
By Michael Drescher, Associate Professor, School of Planning; Dawn Parker, Professor in the School of Planning, Faculty of Environment and Rebecca Rooney, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Waterloo
(The Conversation) With affordable housing in decline, there are loud calls to massively increase the number of homes being built. Unfortunately, conventional residential development destroys large amounts of green space. The average greenness of urban areas across Canada declined five percentage points between 2001 and 2019, and even more in larger cities.
The loss of urban green space leads to increases in urban heat and flooding, which are amplified by climate change, and can threaten human health and well-being, and property. They also degrade natural ecosystems and the biodiversity they support.
Perversely, poorly planned cities themselves contribute to climate change. As Canadian cities move to tackle the housing shortage, they should take care not to worsen climate change and its impacts.
What cities do to fight climate change
By early 2022, over 600 Canadian municipalities had declared a climate emergency. Some of them are taking action by conserving natural ecosystems and better integrating them into their operations. Others are beginning to use green development standards to guide developers in building more sustainable communities.
Even so, 78 per cent of large Canadian cities have continued to lose tree canopy over the past 20 years. This may be because green space conservation and creation are not well incentivized in the planning and development process.

1 September
‘Nothing left’: Floods in Sudan leave 100 dead, many homeless
The UN says at least 258,000 people have been affected by the floods in 15 out of 18 provinces.
More than 100 people have died and thousands affected as floods caused by torrential rains continue to devastate Sudan. Authorities have declared an emergency in six of the hardest-hit provinces, with 15 out of 18 provinces affected. Among the worst-affected areas are the camps that house internally displaced people in Darfur. Opposition groups say the country’s military leadership — which took power in October in a coup — failed to properly prepare for the rainy season, doing little to respond to the disaster. There are fears that rising river levels could devastate the capital Khartoum next.

29 August
International aid reaches Pakistan, where floods have claimed more than 1,000 lives
(NPR) International aid has begun to reach Pakistan after the death toll of heavier-than-usual monsoon rains surpassed 1,000 and affected about 33 million people. The military and volunteers helped evacuate thousands of people still stranded by the flooding. Cargo planes from Turkey and the UAE arrived in the capital Islamabad on Sunday with tents, food, water and other necessities. The devastation comes as the South Asian nation faces high inflation and a depreciating currency. The country is hoping that the IMF will release $1.2 billion from Pakistan’s bailout program.
Pakistan declares national emergency as flood toll nears 1,000
At least 937 people are dead and 30 million are ‘badly affected’ as Pakistan struggles to cope with devastating floods.
(Al Jazeera) “What we are seeing here in the country is development deficit. It is not only the excessive rain which is causing the issue, but rather the inadequate preparation and infrastructure,”

20 August
European drought unearths sunken Nazi warships, ‘Spanish Stonehenge’
(WaPo) One of the worst droughts on record in Europe has parched the continent’s major waterways, revealing relics such as a long-submerged village and World War II-era battleships.
Earlier this week, the unrelenting heat wave that left the Iberian peninsula drier than any time in the last 1,200 years also exposed dozens of prehistoric stones in a reservoir in central Spain.
The drought drained the reservoir to a fraction of its capacity, the Spanish government said, granting archaeologists access to the Dolmen of Guadalperal, believed to be from 5000 B.C. Known as the “Spanish Stonehenge,”

17 August
France’s river Loire sets new lows as drought dries up its tributaries
Famous for UNESCO World Heritage castles, Loire suffers drought
Unprecedented low water levels endanger river ecology
Sand banks stretch for miles, flat-bottom boats stranded
Four nuclear plants depend on water flow for cooling

12 August
EU countries rush to help France tackle ‘monstrous’ wildfires
Firefighters from Romania, Poland, Austria, Greece and Italy fight blazes in show of ‘European solidarity’
(The Guardian) Most are stationed along a 26 mile (40km) active fire-front in the south-west, where a blaze described as “monstrous” continued to devastate pine forests.
German firefighters and their vehicles arrived in the early hours of Friday morning to help tackle the massive Landiras fire in the Gironde and the Landes, south of Bordeaux, which had sparked up again this week after destroying swathes of forest in July.
In a summer of extreme heat and drought, France has faced its most serious forest fires in years. One local firefighter described the Landiras blaze in south-west France as “a sleeping monster which can wake at any gust of wind”.
The French state broadcaster reported that since the start of the year, 56,000 hectares of forest had burned in France – three times the annual average this decade.

3 August
How climate change drives inland floods
(NPR) Climate change means more flood risk across the United States. That includes places far from the ocean and sometimes far from rivers and streams, but where rain storms can still cause dangerous flash floods.
Why, exactly, does a hotter Earth mean more inland flood risk? And what does the future hold? This FAQ is for the millions of people who live in increasingly flood-prone parts of the United States, and who want to know how to stay safe and prepare for a changing climate.
How does climate change affect heavy rain?
It all starts with the release of greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide and methane. As humans keep burning fossil fuels, the atmosphere gets hotter. That hot air holds more water vapor, and so when it rains, it rains harder.
Climate scientists have been predicting for decades that heavy rain would get more common as the Earth heats up. At this point, scientists can measure what’s happening in real time. The amount of rain falling in the heaviest rain storms increased across the country between 1958 and 2016, according to the National Climate Assessment. The situation is most serious in the eastern half of the country. A lot more rain is falling in the Northeast and Midwest, which means a lot more flood risk in all kinds of places, including areas far from the coast.

25 July
Living Through India’s Next-Level Heat Wave
In hospitals, in schools, and on the streets, high temperatures have transformed routines and made daylight dangerous.
By Dhruv Khullar
(The New Yorker) Dhruv Khullar writes, in a haunting dispatch from India, where an unprecedented heat wave has taken hold. … And, Khullar cautions, extreme heat isn’t just a phenomenon affecting “poor, faraway people”: just last week, temperatures in the U.K. reached a hundred and four for the first time; last summer, in the course of three weeks, more than fourteen hundred people died during a heat wave in the Pacific Northwest. Short of causing death, extreme heat can lead to fever, vomiting, and fainting, and, as Khullar, a practicing physician, writes, the effects of climate change are also psychological—heat has been linked to a rise in suicides among Indian farmers.

21 July
(Atlantic Council) It’s the new, broiling normal. Europe’s brutal heatwave this week—which notched the highest temperature ever recorded in the United Kingdom at 104 degrees Fahrenheit—has buckled airport runways and fueled scorching wildfires. It’s also racking up a death toll in the thousands. This is the reality of the changing climate—and it will only get worse from here. Even as they work to reduce carbon emissions, how can societies and individuals adapt to this extreme heat?
Under threat from extreme heat: What can cities do to adapt? | Arsht Rock Press Briefing (video)

19 July
The World Is Burning Once Again
We can only adapt so much to extreme heat.
Jacob Stern
(The Atlantic) Earlier this year, the U.K.’s Met Office had to update its definition of a heat wave because climate change had rendered the old definition obsolete: Heat waves would now be so common as to have lost their meaning.
It’s not just the U.K. Now everywhere is hot. More than 100 million Americans are currently under heat advisories or warnings. In India, a record-breaking heat wave has only recently given way to the monsoon. Parts of Central Asia are still seeing temperatures as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit. And the damage done by overlapping disasters doesn’t merely accrete linearly; it compounds. Over time, climate change has made these concurrent extremes more and more common, Kai Kornhuber, a climate scientist at Columbia, told me. Since the late ’70s, concurrent major heat waves have grown six times more frequent in the Northern Hemisphere, Kornhuber and several colleagues found earlier this year. “What we’re seeing now is a situation where the overall warmth of the climate is higher, which puts us intrinsically closer to those extreme-heat thresholds,” Alex Ruane, a climate scientist at NASA, told me.

29 June
Many European schools and hospitals at risk from heat waves and floods: How to protect vulnerable groups from climate change?
(European Environment Agency/EEA) Climate change affects all Europeans but vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, children, low-income groups and people with health problems or disabilities, are the most affected. One in ten European schools and hospitals may also be at flood risk and about half of those facilities in cities are within intense urban heat islands. A European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing, published today, looks at these inequalities and how to address them through equitable climate change adaptation.
More and more vulnerable Europeans are increasingly exposed to dangerous heat waves, due to the combination of rising temperatures, urbanisation, and the ageing of the population, according to the EEA briefing. Flood-prone areas in some countries tend to have higher shares of the elderly or unemployed people who may not be able to relocate or pay for insurances or adequate flood protection for their homes. The EEA analysis also shows that nearly half of schools and hospitals in European cities are within intense urban heat islands, and every tenth European school or hospital may be exposed to flooding.
Towards ‘just resilience’: leaving no one behind when adapting to climate change
Despite efforts to adapt to climate change in Europe, the most vulnerable groups in society are still the most affected. Projected climate change, an ageing society and persisting socio-economic inequalities mean that differences in vulnerability and exposure to climate change are likely to continue. In addition, adaptation responses may worsen existing inequalities or even create new ones. This briefing looks at how climate change affects vulnerable groups and how these impacts can be prevented or reduced through equitable adaptation actions. It also presents examples of equity-oriented policies and measures from across Europe.

26 April
Humanity’s broken risk perception is reversing global progress in a ‘spiral of self-destruction’, finds new UN report
World could undo social and economic advances and face 1.5 disasters a day by 2030, according to UN’s flagship Global Assessment Report.
The Global Assessment Report (GAR2022), released by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) ahead of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in May, reveals that between 350 and 500 medium- to large-scale disasters took place every year over the past two decades. The number of disaster events is projected to reach 560 a year – or 1.5 disasters a day – by 2030.
The report entitled “Our World at Risk: Transforming Governance for a Resilient Future,” found that the implementation of disaster risk reduction strategies, as called for in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, had reduced both the number of people impacted and killed by disasters in the last decade.
However, the scale and intensity of disasters are increasing, with more people killed or affected by disasters in the last five years than in the previous five.
Global disasters are coming harder and faster. Here’s how we can cut the risks
Mami Mizutori
The UN’s annual report on mitigating calamities shows that a radical rethink is needed to protect those who suffer most
If the world seems beset by constant disasters, from the pandemic to drought, we only have ourselves to blame.
Over the past two decades, we have experienced up to 500 disasters a year as a result of human activity. By 2030, this could rise to 560 a year – or 10.7 a week.
Given the disproportionate impact these disasters have on the most vulnerable, the tragedy is that the world is actively reversing social and economic gains, particularly in developing countries, by underestimating the threat. With this broken risk perception, humanity itself is on a spiral of self-destruction – a key finding of the UN’s Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2022 (Gar 2022).

23 March
UN chief calls for extreme weather warning systems for everyone on Earth
António Guterres says entire planet should be covered by early warning systems within five years
About a third of people around the world are not now covered by early warning systems, but in Africa the problem is greater, with about six in 10 people lacking such warnings.
As climate breakdown takes hold, more people are likely to be affected by extreme weather, including flash floods, heatwaves, more violent storms and coastal storm surges, made worse by sea level rises.
António Guterres said it was unacceptable that so many people were still not covered by early warning systems, and pointed out that the IPCC had recently found half of humanity was “in the danger zone” for climate breakdown.
Guterres has asked the World Meteorological Organization to lead the effort to ensure everyone is covered by an early warning system. He has called for a plan on how to fulfil the target to be brought to the next UN climate summit, Cop27, to be held in Egypt in November.

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