How are you?
Don’t ask… I’m still doing the heatwave while the hot dog is cooking. Still, I can’t complain that much because we’ve had good rain this year, but I do remember the year 2018 and this time that year I was praying for Cape Town. It was the first time I’ve heard of a drought so bad that Cape Town was going to be declared in a state of emergency if it did not receive a lot of rain by day zero; 12 April 2018.
The city of Cape Town has experienced drought since 2015 all the way to 2019 and has not received rain for these three consecutive winters. It is said to be because of the El Niño weather pattern and perhaps by climate change. Water levels in the city’s dams declined from 71.9 percent in 2014 to 50.1 percent in 2015.
According to this article, Cape Town has made it through the worst of a historic drought without turning off the taps. 4 million people were three months away from having no water. This was the first time ever for me to have heard about this in South Africa’s history ever since I remember learning how to speak English.
Let me take you back to 2017
Chile – Firestorms – 24 January 2017 – The worst fire for Chile
11 people dead, 1500 houses burnt, 500 000 hectares burnt through 122 fires burning and 40 million USD of wineries have been affected.
The California fires (20 April 2017 – 12 January 2018)
Meet the largest fire in wildfire season in the state of California. It burnt 1, 381, 405 acres of land and had a total of 9 133 fires burning with 230 000 people being evacuated. It cost 18 billion USD for all six fires, 45 civilians and 2 firefighters. The total economic cost including fire suppression, insurance, direct and indirect economic losses, winery, wine farms and recovery expenditures is estimated at about 180 billion USD. This fire, I believe known as the Thomas fire was one never seen before by the officials of this state and described the fire to be swirling along with the Santa Ana winds not only burning but bending metal structures that stood in its way.
2017 was the third-warmest year on record for the United States and the second hottest in California bringing along a lot of questions around climate change and its contribution to fires.
Camp fire 2018 – The most expensive natural disaster in the world in terms of insured losses
This fire was ignited by a faulty electric transmission line. This fire is the 6th deadliest wildfire in the US overall.
June 2018 – Guatemala’s Fuego Volcano
Guatemala’s Fuego Volcano is an active volcano. It has erupted without warning spewing ash four miles into the air burying villages. This volcano has been erupting on and off since the year 2002. The pyroclastic flow travelled at 50 miles per hour while its upper surface was filled with hot gases ranging from 400 to 1300 degrees Fahrenheit.
As much as the above article says that it’s normal to have volcanic activity it doesn’t cross my mind for one second that the more frequent volcanos are erupting and each time with less warning there must be some element of global warming involved because of the heat and pressure.
The Bolshaya Udina volcano
This volcano in the far eastern corner of Russia was considered extinct until 2017. From the years 1999 to September 2017 it had 100 weak seismic activity events. It stands at 9590 feet above sea level. Since October 2017 to February 2019, 2400 seismic events have been recorded. In February 2019, there was a magnitude of 4.3 that occurred under Udina.
January 2018 – Dormant volcano Kadovar awakes
An entire population had to be evacuated from an Island because the dormant volcano Kadovar awakes. This volcano laid dormant on Kadovar Island northeast of Papua New Guinea where experts say it’s “the first surprise volcano to erupt in 2019.” This reminds me of the volcano that was dormant for more than a century that erupted in New Zealand in 2012. I believe that the volcano is called Mount Tongariro.
Amazon Rainforest Wildfires August 2019 – October 2019 – Brazil, Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay
This year’s increase in fires in the wildfire season has raised the alarm bells of international leaders. There were a total of 40 000 fires, 906 000 hectares burnt, cause – slash-burn approach to deforest land for agriculture and effects of climate change and global warming due to unusually longer dry season and above-average temperatures around worldwide throughout 2019.
Australia – June 2019 – Present – Black Summer or Morrison Fires
The worst fires in the history of Australia so far. Over 1 billion animals killed included endangered species while some have been driven to extinction, over 18.6 million hectares burnt, over 5900 buildings destroyed including homes, over 34 people killed, 500 million Australian dollars donated by the public, organisations, celebrities etc. Tourism sectors have fallen to 1 billion Australian dollars, 306 million tonnes of CO2 were emitted, air quality dropped, the smoke moved 11 000 kilometres, convoys have donated food etc. Currently, 73 bushfires are contained and 30 remain uncontained (as of 24 January 2020). Australia has been experiencing extreme heat and drought as well.
I’ve come to this topic because lately South Africa has experienced a large butterfly migration. It’s the first-ever noted since 1966, and thoughts about the migration are pointing to climate change.
To conclude, I did a quick check on the tsunamis to try and find a pattern, but it seems to be consistent over time.
What are your thoughts?
T. Dench Patel