Air temperature in the Arctic was -19.25°C on 2023-03-23. This is 0.15°C higher than 90th percentile of climatology period... READ MORE
Air temperature in the Arctic was -19.28°C on 2023-03-22. This is 0.27°C higher than 90th percentile of climatology period... READ MORE
Today the final synthesis of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s 6th Assessment Report cycle was released. This synthesis report restates that it is "now or never" to act, and that we are well on... READ MORE
Arctic sea ice has likely reached its maximum extent for the year, at 14.62 million square kilometres (5.64 million square miles) on March 6, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at... READ MORE
Tropical cyclone Freddy is set to make more international records--including possibly one for the longest-lasting storm, later this... READ MORE
CO2 Budget Depletion
The Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of the world (Rantananen et al., 2022), and the ripple effects of such rapid change can affect the entire Asian continent.
The Asian continent has 11 out of the 20 countries identified as the most at risk of climate related disasters over the decade 2000-2019 and nine in the top 20 for 2019 alone (Global Climate Risk Index 2021). Socio-economic impacts of climate change have a negative impact on people’s livelihoods and wider economies. Read more on our [Socio Economic Impacts] page.
As the Arctic snow and ice melts, more of the sun’s energy is absorbed rather than reflected back to space. Thus temperatures around the world rise, as the Arctic is less able to act as the global refrigerator.
This warming is not just localised to the Arctic, however, but extends globally. Not only are temperatures rising throughout Asia, leading to more heat stress events and loss in economic productivity, but a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, which can increase the intensity of storms (IPCC AR6 WG1, 2021).
Melt from Greenland is currently the world’s largest contributor to sea level rise. Even if all fossil fuel emissions are cut immediately and further warming stymied, the existing destabilisation of the Greenland ice cap through Arctic warming guarantees at least 27cm of sea level rise (Box et al., 2022).
Equatorial waters, such as the Bay of Bengal and South China Sea, are seeing the fastest rise of seas, due largely to ocean dynamics.
In addition to flooding territory, salt water intrusion can lead to crop failure and even drought–in areas not covered by rising waters, especially when the changing climate alters previously predictable patterns of precipitation.
When coupled with powerful cyclones, sea level rise also compounds storm damage as higher seas increase storm surge and flooding.
Between June and August of 2022, China was scorched by its worst heatwave to date (Feng, 2022) – possibly even the globe’s most severe heat event on record (Le Page, 2022).
China, by way of its entry into the Arctic shipping sphere, is a significant contributor to the black carbon and other shipping emissions that escalate the greenhouse warming effects in the Arctic, which are felt across the world (Backman et al, 2021).
The persistent 2022 summer heat was compounded by drought and resulted in major impacts across various sectors. As multiple river levels decreased, and the country’s largest lake, Poyang Lake, was reduced to a quarter of its original size, over 300,000 residents were faced with water supply disruptions and hydroelectric plants experienced a drop in output by up to 50% in certain provinces (Indian Express, 2022; Al Jazeera, 2022; The New York Times, 2022).
The ensuing energy crisis was exacerbated by a heat-driven record demand in electricity throughout 19 provinces, which prompted rolling blackouts and forced factories, shopping malls and other businesses to shut down (Ziwen, 2022; Newburger, 2022).
Luckily, the dry and hot conditions caused limited crop damage (Global Times, 2022).
Altogether, the double climate whammy led to economic losses of over US$400 million in July alone (Newburger, 2022; Indian Express, 2022).
In October, the World Weather Attribution found that the drought across the Northern Hemisphere extratropics, China included, was made at least 20 times more likely by human-induced climate change (Schumacher et al., 2022).
Climate change is increasing rainfall associated with tropical cyclones, and the warming Indian Ocean is increasing cyclone intensity (Clarke and Otto, 2022), meaning the region is at risk of experiencing more storms like the 2020 Super Cyclonic Storm Amphan, which took 128 lives and affected 13.6 million people (Nagchoudhary and Paul, 2020).
Hitting West Bengal as a category 5 tropical cyclone, Amphan was the costliest storm ever recorded in the North Indian Ocean, causing more than US$13 billion in damage (Ibid.).
In May 2021, India’s Northeast was again hit by a catastrophic storm, as the Super Cyclone Yaas wreaked havoc across Odisha, West Bengal, and Jharkhand, causing up to US$3 billion in damage (Podlaha, 2021). This meant a 1.7% loss in GDP for the city of Kolkata, and 0.1% for India overall (Sikdar, 2021).
Roughly one-tenth of all tropical cyclones world-wide affect the Indian subcontinent’s 8000+ km long coastline, exposing low-lying lands to storm surges, coastal erosion and extreme floods, ultimately causing destruction of property, infrastructure and vegetation as well as loss of lives (EPW, 2021).
Between 1970 and 2019, India was battered by 117 tropical cyclones, leading to more than 40,000 fatalities; half of which occurred throughout the first decade of said time span (Business Standard, 2021; Ministry of Earth Science, 2022). Worryingly, research also warns that there may be a possible relationship between Arctic sea ice loss and changes to the Indian monsoon rainfall extremes (Chaterjee et al., 2021).
Dr. M. Ravichandran, secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, makes this link clear: “Climate change in Arctic circle [sic] is worrisome even for our region as it impacts our Indian summer monsoon rainfall. Some studies indicate that the extreme heat and rainfall events are also leading to ice melting in that region” (TNN, 2021).
Since mid-June 2022, Pakistan’s monsoon brought an approximate 436% increase in rainfall in the worst affected southernmost provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, with national rainfall for both July and August exceeding the country’s 30-year average by 181-190% (Pakistan Meteorological Department, 2022a; Pakistan Meteorological Department, 2022b). Out of the 33 million affected people (ECHO Flash, 2022), over 1,500 people lost their lives (458 of whom were children) (National Disaster Management Authority, 2022), making the flood the country’s deadliest disaster since 2010.
At the flood’s worst, one-third of Pakistan was submerged, with the Indus River having overflowed and created a 100 kilometre wide inland lake across Sindh. Similarly, Lake Manchar overflowed on 6 September and inundated nearby settlements that were home to hundreds of thousands of people (NASA Earth Observatory, 2022).
As of early September 2022, over 1.5 million houses have been damaged in Sindh province alone, which equals 88% of overall damages to houses (OCHA, 2022). Moreover, at least 1.2 million hectares of agricultural land were damaged in Sindh. 269 bridges, 6,700 kilometres of roads and 1,460 health facilities have been damaged or destroyed (OCHA, 2022), along with at least 12 dam bursts in Balochistan (The New Humanitarian, 2022). In addition, 18,590 schools were damaged or destroyed (Save the Children, 2022). Initial assessments of the flood’s economic damage reached at least US$30 billion (Business Standard, 2022).
Under 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are produced by Pakistan while the country is ranked 5th among countries most affected by climate-related extreme events (Our World in Data, n.d.), the 2022 flood disaster is a salient example of climate injustice and the obligation of high-polluting nations to compensate for loss and damage.
Read our in depth case study HERE.
Every year, the monsoon brings devastating floods. In 2022, more than nine million people were affected across Bangladesh and India and over 318 people died as a result, while roughly 4,000 villages, one million hectares of farmland, hundreds of roads and other critical infrastructure, and 155,000 homes were damaged (IFRC, 2022; Kapoor, 2022; Reliefweb, 2022a; Reliefweb, 2022b).
Over 2,500 new cases of disease resulted from the floods (IFRC, 2022). Being a low-lying delta nation, Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable to excessive monsoon rains.
In the 2020 monsoon, roughly one million homes were inundated as the country experiences its most prolonged and extensive flooding in two decades. The widespread devastation triggered a Green Delta Insurance payout of US$32 to all enrolled households (World Food Programme, 2021).
By 2030, the number of Bangladeshi households affected by floods will increase more than twelve-fold compared to 2015 (Khatun and Saadat, 2021).
Keeping in mind that the nation is only responsible for 0.56% of the world’s emissions (Our World in Data, n.d.), its disproportionate toll by climate change is a salient example of climate injustice.
In December 2021, Category 5 Super Typhoon Odette struck the Philippines, affecting nearly two million people, taking 410 lives, and causing damages worth more than US$1.02 billion; the second-costliest in the Philippines’ history (UNHCR Philippines, n.d.; OCHA, 2022).
Five months later in April 2022, Tropical Storm Agaton hit the Philippines, taking another 214 lives and affecting roughly 2.300.000 people, nearly half of whom were displaced from their homes (Reliefweb, 2022).
Multiple times a year, the Philippines experience severe flooding which lead to the displacement of thousands (Climate Change Knowledge Portal, n.d.).
As of mid August 2022, at least three floods have struck the archipelagic country and some of its most densely populated cities, including Metro Manila and Quezon City (Cayabyab, 2022; Floodlist, 2022). The highly exposed and increasingly urbanising country suffers an annual economic loss of US$500-625 million (Climate Change Knowledge Portal, n.d.).
While flooding is already the second most frequently occurring hazard after storms in the Philippines, under the RCP8.5 pathway, the country will see a 61.000 people increase in population affected and US$451 million in damages by flooding every year (World Bank Group, 2021).
Between 1978 and 2018, floods killed 2.847 people and affected roughly 30 million, while causing a total of US$3.5 billion in economic damage (Alcantara, 2019). One-fourth of these fatalities, a whooping 68% of people affected, and over two-thirds of the economic damage occurred in the last decade of said time span, indicating that flood-related impacts are on the rise (Alcantara, 2019).
The India-Pakistan heatwave between March and June 2022, which affected 70% of India by the end of April and led to its worst energy shortage in over six years, was made approximately 30 times more likely by climate change induced by humans (Zachariah et al., 2022).
Hitting the subcontinent’s breadbasket region the hardest, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Balochistan saw losses of up to 50% for summer crops such as wheat, oilseeds, vegetables and fruits.
Already in the current climate, on a typical summer day, labour productivity losses in New Delhi are reaching approximately 15-20 minutes per hour of work (Parsons et al., 2021).
Due mostly to the pull of improved livelihood opportunities, studies on heatwaves in Pakistan have identified a statistically significant link between heat stress and long-term migration (Mueller, Gray and Kosec, 2014; Umar and Saeed, 2018).
According to the 2021 IPCC report, heatwaves are increasing on all continents including South Asia. In the 2022 summer season, India’s total number of days with heat waves exceeded 200; a five-fold increase compared to 2021 (Mishra, 2022).
Across Southeast Asia, heatwaves are occurring more frequently and intensely, and longer.
In April through May 2016, several regions across Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines broke their all-time air temperature records during one of Southeast Asia’s worst heat waves on record (Thirumalai et al., 2017).
Reaching up to 45°C, some of the world’s largest rice producing nations, such as Thailand and Vietnam, experienced decreases in yields (Suwanmontri, Kamoshita and Fukai, 2020; Minh, 2016).
Over 150 people died and hundreds of millions of people were affected. On average and across all sectors, Thailand and Cambodia are suffering from the region’s highest heat-related losses of working hours, reaching 7.53 and 5.34% respectively (ILO, 2019).
By 2045, Southeast Asia is estimated to bear the greatest loss in labour productivity across the world, totaling at a 16% decrease as a result of heat stress (Verisk Maplecroft, 2017).
Southeast Asia experiences recurring droughts and it is estimated that 15-25% of the population resides in these drought hotspots (Alisjahbana and Hoi, 2020).
In 2019-2020, the Mekong Delta endured a prolonged drought, leading to damage of over 33.000 hectares of rice fields and water insecurity of roughly 95.600 households, severely impacting the roughly 65 million residents along the Mekong River whose livelihoods rely on which (Hunt, 2022).
More than 20 million of the affected people are located in Vietnam, which led five Vietnamese provinces to declare a State of Emergency (Ngoc Chau, 2020).
The following gauges show up-to-date data regarding key indicators in the Arctic. These indicators clearly point to the crisis at hand.