It’s been a devastating week of natural disasters from the deadly wildfires in Chile to the catastrophic landslide in the Philippines.
At least 15 people were killed after a landslide struck a southern Philippine province on Tuesday, while 110 people were missing and more than 1,166 families were evacuated from their homes, disaster officials said.
Torrential rains have battered Davao de Oro in recent weeks, triggering floods and landslides.
The floods in the Philippines come as the El Nino global weather pattern is poised to transition to La Nina in the second half of 2024.
La Nina has a pattern of typically bringing higher precipitation to Australia, Southeast Asia and India and drier weather to grain and oilseed producing regions of the Americas, meteorologists and agricultural analysts said.
While it is winter in the northern hemisphere, in parts of South America, experiencing the southern hemisphere summer, temperatures are blistering.
Argentina endured a heatwave between Jan. 21 and 31, while the Chilean capital of Santiago registered its third hottest temperature on record on Jan. 31, climbing above 37C.
U.S. scientists have said 2024 has a one-in-three chance of being even hotter than last year, and a 99% chance of ranking in the top five warmest years ever.
1. Philippines’ landslide kills at least 15
The death toll from a landslide that struck a southern Philippine province rose to 15 on Friday, with 110 people missing, as rescuers recovered more bodies, local authorities said. The landslide happened on Tuesday night in the town of Maco in the province of Davao de Oro, burying homes and two buses, which a provincial official said were carrying more than two dozen passengers.
Search and rescue operations continue following a landslide in the village of Masara, Maco, Davao de Oro, Philippines. REUTERS/Mark Navales
2. Climate change drives world to first 12-month spell over 1.5C
The world just experienced its warmest January on record, marking the first 12-month period in which temperatures averaged more than 1.5C (2.7F) above pre-industrial times, the European Union’s climate change monitoring service said.
This comes as unusually mild weather and droughts in Italy are destroying crops and threatening livelihoods this winter, Italy’s main farming lobby Coldiretti said.
Additionally, Spain has logged the warmest January since records began in 1961, with average temperatures last month reaching 8.4 degrees Celsius (47.1° Fahrenheit), 0.4 degrees above the previous record in 2016, the Environment Ministry said.
3. Shift from El Nino to La Nina portends rains in Asia, dryness in Americas
After a strong El Nino, global weather is poised to transition to La Nina in the second half of 2024, a pattern typically bringing higher precipitation to Australia, Southeast Asia and India and drier weather to grain and oilseed producing regions of the Americas, meteorologists and agricultural analysts said.
4. How climate change made Chile’s wildfires so deadly
Survivors of Chile’s recent deadly wildfires described a hellish nightmare, a hurricane of fireballs leaping from hill to hill, lighting up everything within its path in seconds. Click here for a Reuters story on the effects of climate change on Chile’s wildfire, featuring insights from climatologists and scientists.
5. Iceland volcano fades but leaves residents in the cold
Iceland’s latest volcanic eruption waned on Friday but left a trail of damage to roads and pipelines, cutting hot water to parts of the Reykjanes peninsula during freezing temperatures.
Spain’s brown bears, once nearly extinct, are growing in numbers and a special patrol is helping to keep the endangered Iberian brown bears safe and healthy while allowing humans and animals to coexist. Click here or on the image for more.
Last year took quite a dramatic turn for the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), but will its split from its founding partners and its shift to a charity make a difference for the organization? Well, click here for more on the drama by Ethical Corp Magazine contributor Oliver Balch.
Click here to read more about how sodium can be used as the key ingredient in electric-vehicle batteries, replacing lithium, used in most of today’s EVs, by Breakingviews columnist Katrina Hamlin.
Want to know more about why Germany’s annual onshore wind installations rose by 48% in 2023? Click here for a feature by Reuters Events columnist Neil Ford.
The La Nina weather pattern could emerge in the second half of 2024, quickly after El Nino transitions into ENSO-neutral conditions in the middle of this year, a U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday.
The La Nina pattern is characterized by unusually cold temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean and is linked with floods and drought.
Number of the Week
Australia experienced its eighth-warmest year in 2023, with the influence of climate change pushing average temperatures almost 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 1961-1990 average, the weather bureau said.
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