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The first half of 2016 has been one of record heat and environmental catastrophes worldwide. Fires are burning up thousands of acres of land across California, flooding in India and China has displaced millions, and the Middle East has struggled to cope with temperatures consistently over 100 degrees.
“Massive temperature hikes, but also extreme events like floodings, have become the new normal,” David Carlson, Director of the World Meteorological Organization’s climate research department told Reuters Monday. “The ice melt rates recorded in the first half of 2016, for example—we don’t usually see those until later in the year.”
In California, many expressed optimism last year that after years of drought, El Nino would deliver much needed rain to end the dry weather. Their optimism didn’t come to fruition, as fires have been worse in 2016 than they were in 2015. Scientists are now speculating the drought could last for more than a decade.
In India and China, floods continue to rage around the country, as “relief camps” are set up to house and feed displaced people. Not only are the floods washing away people’s housing, they’re also destroying vital farm land to agricultural production. This problem is only going to continue to get worse as their populations continue to grow and the planet continues to warm. Both governments are going to have to come up with innovative solutions if they hope to keep their people fed.
The unique thing about 2016, as opposed to years past, is that the heat and devastation is occurring across the entire planet. Nearly every square inch on earth is experiencing record temperatures and unusual destruction by flooding, fire, and drought.
Many countries find themselves without the adequate resources to combat these unprecedented issues. The problem has become so widespread it’s going to take a global effort to feed citizens, shelter refugees, and provide disaster relief.