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The climate crisis is disrupting life for millions, a report finds

The warmer the planet becomes due to greenhouse emissions, the more unimaginable the effects humans will face.

Posted: Mar 26, 2020 5:10 AM
Updated: Mar 26, 2020 5:10 AM

After declining for most of the last decade, hunger is once again on the rise around the world, and climate change is a primary cause. Over 820 million people suffered from hunger in 2018, the greatest number since 2010 according to findings from a new World Meteorological Organization report released today.

The wide-ranging State of the Climate report outlines the latest science and includes data from a variety of disciplines in order to evaluate the current and future impacts of climate change on everything from heath and global economies to food insecurity and refugee displacements.

Climate variability is one of the key contributors to this increase in global disruptions due to food insecurity, displacement, and deaths from disasters.

Food supplies in some of the most vulnerable regions in the world are being directly affected by impacts such as crop failures and locust swarms.

Exceptional drought followed by extremely heavy rainfall markedly decreased the seasonal crop yield in the Horn of Africa during 2019. These irregular weather and climate patterns also contributed to the worst desert locust invasion in 25 years, which further threatened the crop supply in the region.

As a result, by the end of 2019, over 22 million people in the Horn of Africa alone were estimated to be severely food insecure.

Extreme weather spans the globe

High-impact weather events in 2019 were largely to blame for up to 22 million estimated displacements of people due to disasters, up more than 25% over 2018. Floods and storms contributed the most, including Tropical Cyclone Idai in Mozambique and Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas -- each of which dropped unprecedented amounts of rainfall and displaced tens of thousands of residents.

During two separate summer European heatwaves, all-time record temperatures were notched in several countries across Europe and at least 1,462 deaths were recorded.

But the impacts on human health extend beyond just hunger and heat-related illness.

The dengue virus, a mosquito-borne illness, has seen its global incidence grow dramatically in recent decades and now threatens about half of the world's population, the report finds.

Australia experienced record warm temperatures and extreme drought, creating the perfect storm for the wildfires that burned over 7 million hectares (17 million acres) in New South Wales and Victoria alone. The fire activity wasn't just confined to Australia, though, Siberia and South America's Amazon rain forests saw massive wildfires as well.

Symptoms of the climate crisis

The extremes don't stop there, as the global thermostat continues to rise, along with many of the other tell-tale symptoms of global warming.

The global-average temperature was 1.1 degree Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial era, topping off 2010-2019 as the warmest decade on record.

The findings of this report are not surprising, as the WMO released another report in January stating that 2019 was the second-warmest year on record. Only 2016 was warmer, due to a strong El Nino event that heated the globe naturally.

In 2019, the global mean sea level reached its highest value on record, due to the melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica as well as continuing heating of the ocean, which the report notes once again reached it's highest levels of heat in the upper 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) of ocean depth.

"Given that greenhouse gas levels continue to increase, the warming will continue. A recent decadal forecast indicates that a new annual global temperature record is likely in the next five years. It is a matter of time," said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

Climate change is making these extremes more common, This latest report serves as a valuable mile-marker of the climate crisis. Without climate action, populations around the globe can expect to see continued disruptions to their everyday lives.

"This report is a catalogue of weather in 2019 made more extreme by climate change, and the human misery that went with it," according to Brian Hoskins, chair of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College in London and not associated with the WMO State of the Climate.

"It points to a threat that is greater to our species than any known virus -- we must not be diverted from the urgency of tackling it by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to zero as soon as possible."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 62303

Reported Deaths: 1724
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Ramsey7775269
Dakota4558106
Anoka3792115
Stearns291320
Washington219247
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Nobles17736
Scott160822
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Sherburne73710
Kandiyohi7051
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Nicollet35113
Steele3512
Watonwan3281
Benton3233
Winona26516
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Crow Wing24614
Le Sueur2301
Martin2095
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Otter Tail1983
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Becker1611
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Houston440
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Norman400
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Redwood360
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Wadena270
Red Lake240
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Kittson30

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 49830

Reported Deaths: 948
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10535208
Woodbury375452
Black Hawk318066
Linn244588
Johnson212320
Dallas191335
Buena Vista179712
Scott175814
Dubuque172231
Marshall145226
Pottawattamie135029
Story118115
Wapello92733
Muscatine85748
Webster8428
Crawford7363
Sioux6503
Cerro Gordo64417
Warren5821
Tama55629
Jasper48427
Wright4781
Plymouth47412
Clinton4214
Dickinson3854
Louisa37814
Washington30510
Boone2663
Hamilton2521
Franklin24812
Bremer2317
Clarke2063
Clay2031
Carroll1962
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Emmet1934
Shelby1871
Hardin1850
Marion1770
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Allamakee1584
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Henry1364
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Jones1342
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Madison1272
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Hancock1232
Humboldt1221
Lee1214
Lyon1192
Pocahontas1182
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Harrison1101
Clayton1083
Taylor1000
Iowa971
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Page960
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Mills931
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Union781
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