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2020 climate disasters in 50 photos

Stacker Logo By Caitlin PenzeyMoog of Stacker | Slide 1 of 51: After nearly 20 years of mega-drought, California’s 2020 wildfire season has been the worst on record. More than 4 million acres of California have burned so far this year, with one fire reaching newly classified “gigafire” status as it surpassed 1 million acres. To the north, Oregon has experienced fires in places that rarely catch fire. Smoke blanketed the sky so thickly that some residents didn’t see blue for days. Another record has been broken: that of named tropical storms. After running out of the alphabetical list of names for tropical storms, new storms have been named after the Greek alphabet. Tropical storm Delta hit the Gulf Coast in early October; it will only take three more storms until 2020 is officially the most active hurricane season—which ends Nov. 30—on record. Those tropical storms have repeatedly battered U.S. coastal regions from the Gulf Coast to the far East Coast. Delta was Louisiana’s seventh storm to make landfall. Just six weeks earlier, Hurricane Laura was especially catastrophic, killing at least 77 people across its path of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the United States, where its landfall in Louisiana set the record of the most powerful storm in the state’s history. The Midwest experienced a rare group of storms called “derechos” in August, with hurricane-like conditions and winds that reached up to 112 mph in Iowa, where it pulled roofs from homes, toppled deep-rooted trees, flattened crops, cracked powerlines like toothpicks, and killed two people. Thousands across Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois were without power for days. All summer long cities across the United States experienced record-setting heat. Across the South and especially in Texas and Florida, cities experienced more days of extreme heat. California’s Death Valley hit 130 degrees Fahrenheit in August, the hottest the Earth has been in nearly a century. Between June and September in the United States, scientists at the National Centers for Environmental Information estimate that weather disasters have amounted to $16 billion in damages. In its Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlighted the widespread extreme weather events: “Recent climate changes and individual extreme events demonstrate both impacts of climate-related stresses and vulnerabilities of exposed systems,” its North American summary stated. While the United States has faced a particularly tumultuous year of climate disasters, the rest of the globe has experienced an equal share of destruction and weather-related grief, as these notable photographs will show. Devastating wildfires hit Australia, the Amazon, Siberian forests, Indonesia, and Argentina so far this year. Though the Pacific typhoon season has been uncharacteristically quiet in 2020, the typhoons that have hit the region have resulted in several deaths, flash flooding, and billions in damage. Parts of England were also inundated with flooding. Siberia, synonymous with frigid temperatures, hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit in June, accompanied by wildfires. Photos of nature and human habitats destroyed or dramatically altered due to climate disasters capture the catastrophic results better than words. Stacker has compiled 2020’s most notable weather into 50 photos. Read on to view photos of this year’s climate disasters, with most occurring while countries have been battling the COVID-19 pandemic as well. You may also like:  Cities before conflict: what it was like to visit Juarez, Tehran, and 13 other afflicted places

2020 climate disasters in 50 photos

After nearly 20 years of mega-drought, California’s 2020 wildfire season has been the worst on record. More than 4 million acres of California have burned so far this year, with one fire reaching newly classified “gigafire” status as it surpassed 1 million acres. To the north, Oregon has experienced fires in places that rarely catch fire. Smoke blanketed the sky so thickly that some residents didn’t see blue for days.

Another record has been broken: that of named tropical storms. After running out of the alphabetical list of names for tropical storms, new storms have been named after the Greek alphabet. Tropical storm Delta hit the Gulf Coast in early October; it will only take three more storms until 2020 is officially the most active hurricane season—which ends Nov. 30—on record.

Those tropical storms have repeatedly battered U.S. coastal regions from the Gulf Coast to the far East Coast. Delta was Louisiana’s seventh storm to make landfall. Just six weeks earlier, Hurricane Laura was especially catastrophic, killing at least 77 people across its path of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the United States, where its landfall in Louisiana set the record of the most powerful storm in the state’s history.

The Midwest experienced a rare group of storms called “derechos” in August, with hurricane-like conditions and winds that reached up to 112 mph in Iowa, where it pulled roofs from homes, toppled deep-rooted trees, flattened crops, cracked powerlines like toothpicks, and killed two people. Thousands across Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois were without power for days.

All summer long cities across the United States experienced record-setting heat. Across the South and especially in Texas and Florida, cities experienced more days of extreme heat. California’s Death Valley hit 130 degrees Fahrenheit in August, the hottest the Earth has been in nearly a century.

Between June and September in the United States, scientists at the National Centers for Environmental Information estimate that weather disasters have amounted to $16 billion in damages. In its Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlighted the widespread extreme weather events: “Recent climate changes and individual extreme events demonstrate both impacts of climate-related stresses and vulnerabilities of exposed systems,” its North American summary stated.

While the United States has faced a particularly tumultuous year of climate disasters, the rest of the globe has experienced an equal share of destruction and weather-related grief, as these notable photographs will show.

Devastating wildfires hit Australia, the Amazon, Siberian forests, Indonesia, and Argentina so far this year. Though the Pacific typhoon season has been uncharacteristically quiet in 2020, the typhoons that have hit the region have resulted in several deaths, flash flooding, and billions in damage. Parts of England were also inundated with flooding. Siberia, synonymous with frigid temperatures, hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit in June, accompanied by wildfires.

Photos of nature and human habitats destroyed or dramatically altered due to climate disasters capture the catastrophic results better than words. Stacker has compiled 2020’s most notable weather into 50 photos.

Read on to view photos of this year’s climate disasters, with most occurring while countries have been battling the COVID-19 pandemic as well.

You may also like: Cities before conflict: what it was like to visit Juarez, Tehran, and 13 other afflicted places

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