Quantcast

15 Extreme Weather Events That Rocked the Planet in 2015

Climate

Scientists are already all but certain that 2015 will be the hottest year on record, surpassing the previous record, which was set just last year. The last five years make up the hottest five-year period on record and 13 of the 14 hottest years on record all occurred this century.

The world marked some other unprecedented milestones in modern history this year. Greenhouse gas concentrations surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) for an entire month this past spring. "We will soon be living with globally averaged carbon dioxide levels above 400 parts per million as a permanent reality,” World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said last month.

This year is also the first time global mean temperature at the Earth’s surface is set to reach 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The scientific community holds that we must keep global greenhouse gas concentrations below 350 ppm and warming below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.

All of that extreme heat has resulted in some very extreme weather. Heat waves gripped Europe, North Africa, Asia and the Middle East in the spring and summer of 2015. India and Pakistan in particular saw deadly heat waves. And many places experienced unusual rainfall patterns.

And scientists are already predicting 2016 is likely to be even hotter than 2015.

Watch this video from Climate Nexus to see some of the most extreme weather of 2015:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Will This Christmas Be the Warmest of Your Lifetime?

Interactive Map: Find Out Which Country Is Most Responsible for Climate Change

The Fraudulent Science at COP21 Exposed

Michael Pollan: It’s Time to Put Carbon Back Into the Soil

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Natural Resources Defense Council

By Emily Deanne

Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.

Read More Show Less
Kokia drynarioides, commonly known as Hawaiian tree cotton, is a critically endangered species of flowering plant that is endemic to the Big Island of Hawaii. David Eickhoff / Wikipedia

By Lorraine Chow

Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Frederick Bass / Getty Images

States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of lava flows from the eruption of volcano Kilauea on Hawaii, May 2018. Frizi / iStock / Getty Images

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
A couple works in their organic garden. kupicoo / E+ / Getty Images

By Kristin Ohlson

From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A competitor in action during the Drambuie World Ice Golf Championships in Uummannaq, Greenland on April 9, 2001. Michael Steele / Allsport / Getty Images

Greenland is open for business, but it's not for sale, Greenland's foreign minister Ane Lone Bagger told Reuters after hearing that President Donald Trump asked his advisers about the feasibility of buying the world's largest island.

Read More Show Less
AFP / Getty Images / S. Platt

Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.

Read More Show Less
Newly established oil palm plantation in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay

By Hans Nicholas Jong

Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.

It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."

Read More Show Less