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Graphics: Will extreme weather become the 'new norm'?


Nearly halfway through 2024, extreme weather events have increasingly occurred across the globe.

Millions of people across South and Southeast Asia continue to swelter through exceptionally hot weather this year. The extreme heat forced schools across Bangladesh and the Philippines to suspend in-person classes in the last few days of April and prompted governments to issue warnings about the high temperatures.  

Thailand issued fresh warnings after the heat index in Bangkok crossed 52 degrees Celsius on April 25. The Thai government said that heatstroke had already killed at least 30 people this year.

A strong tornado hit China's southern mega city of Guangzhou on April 27 due to several days of the severe convection weather, killing 5 people and injuring 33 others.

Flooding and landslides in Eastern Africa are affecting almost a million people in Burundi, Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania in recent days, with over 200 deaths.

Graphics: Will extreme weather become the 'new norm'?

According to the State of the Climate in Asia 2023 released by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Asia remained the world's most disaster-hit region from weather, climate and water-related hazards in 2023. Floods and storms caused the highest number of reported casualties and economic losses, whilst the impact of heat waves became more severe.

In 2023, a total of 79 disasters associated with hydrometeorological hazard events were reported in Asia according to the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT), of which over 80 percent were related to flood and storm events.

Graphics: Will extreme weather become the 'new norm'?

April 2024 was warmer globally than any previous April according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) recorded data, with an average surface air temperature of 15.03 degrees Celsius, 0.67 degrees Celsius above the 1991-2020 average for April and 0.14 degrees Celsius above the previous high set in April 2016.

"This is the new normal and does not come as a surprise," said Alvaro Silva, a climate expert with the WMO. "The frequency and intensity of many extremes, such as heat waves and heavy precipitation, have increased in recent decades. There is high confidence that human induced climate change from greenhouse emissions, is the main driver. This gives us the long-term context for the increasing occurrence and severity of such extreme weather and extreme events," he mentioned in a regular media briefing in Geneva.

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