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  • Extreme weather is now a common staple of our daily news.

  • The U.K. saw it's highest temperature ever back in July, while the U.S. had it's second-hottest and second-wettest year on record.

  • In fact, temperature records around the world were smashed last year with several countries all experiencing some of their hottest-ever months.

  • Last month was the warmest June on record.

  • By the weekend, at least 14 states are expected to break temperature records.

  • This June heat wave will possibly break previous national all-time records.

  • In fact, Germany recorded it's highest-ever June temperature on Wednesday.

  • And as our climate continues to change, natural disasters are on the rise.

  • 2019 was one of the most active cyclone periods on record, with the biggest, Hurricane Dorian, killing at least 70 people and leaving 70,000 homeless.

  • Meanwhile, the worst bushfire season in living memory over in Australia fueled debates around the relationship between climate change and natural disasters once again.

  • But how exactly can natural disasters be affected by climate change?

  • Climate change refers to changes in weather over a long period of time.

  • Many of the ways we measure climate point towards a global warming trend.

  • And the planet getting hotter can influence extreme weather events in a number of ways.

  • Take wildfires for example.

  • Rising temperatures mean that periods of drought are more common and last longer.

  • If there is less moisture in the earth because of increasing temperatures, things can catch fire and spread more easily.

  • Australia has experienced it's hottest day on record.

  • You know, we are seeing unprecedented conditions.

  • So in Australia for instance, while climate change can't be pinned down as the direct cause of bushfires, scientists have said that this hotter, drier climate has led to the fires becoming more intense.

  • A dry climate also impacts on local ecosystems.

  • And how plants and animals behave differently when their environment changes can have a knock-on effect on natural disasters.

  • The relationship between the bark beetles and wildfires in California is just one example of this happening.

  • When the trees that are weakened by drought, they become more susceptible to attacks from the beetles.

  • They bury (burrow) inside the tree and kill it.

  • In some areas of California, more than three quarters of trees have been killed by the beetles, leaving millions of dried up trees ready and waiting to catch fire.

  • But a hotter world doesn't just affect fires and droughts.

  • Melting glaciers and ice sheets are causing sea levels to rise.

  • A warmer atmosphere also holds more water, which means heavy rain is more likely.

  • Flooding is more common.

  • London and the rest of the southwestern Ontario got hit with heavy rain Friday night and Saturday.

  • Four people have died in Spain as heavy rain and flash flooding continue to batter the south east.

  • The French capital has been drenched with three weeks of rain in just an hour.

  • So up to 20 flood warnings are in place now across England and Wales.

  • But it also has an effect on hurricanes.

  • Warmer air and ocean temperature results in hurricanes becoming more intense, while higher seas mean that storm surges are bigger and ultimately cause more damage.

  • Hurricanes are categorized by their wind speed.

  • And because warmer temperatures allow forming hurricanes to pick up more energy, category four and five hurricanes are becoming more likely.

  • It is the strongest hurricane in modern records for the area.

  • Since we last talked, there has been in intensification.

  • I'm sure you can tell right now.

  • The wind is really, really, really strong out here.

  • In fact, experts predict hurricanes in these highest categories to more than double in frequency by the end of the century.

  • Natural disasters have always happened.

  • But throughout human history, we haven't had the ability to influence nature on such a large scale that it could actually change the climate.

  • Now we do, and we have.

  • And as long as the temperature of our world continues to rise, we can expect events like fires, drought, flooding and hurricanes to happen more often and on a bigger scale.

Extreme weather is now a common staple of our daily news.

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How Does Climate Change Affect Natural Disasters?

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    Cindy Lin posted on 2020/08/12
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