The most infernal weather of 2021 in satellite images

Forest fires and smoke are spreading across Siberia. Image: Pierre Markuse / Flickr

According to most statistics, 2021 was a difficult year. But perhaps the most shocking thing was the weather.

You name it, 2021 had it. Hurricanes that cause billions of damage, drought that turns lakes into clouds of dust, fires in every corner of the world, extreme cold, extreme heat, heavy rain, the list goes on. Some locations were repeatedly hit by various ailments, while others saw strange weather that was completely out of season, such as this month’s tornadoes.

It has become impossible to untangle the weather from our rapidly changing climate. The atmosphere is supercharged for heavy rain. Background heat kills dangerous heat. Sea level rise can make storm surges more destructive. Simply put, this is not the weather of yesteryear. Nor will it be the weather of the future if we fail to reduce emissions in a meaningful way; those heat waves, hurricanes and rain showers will be all the more intense.

To understand what’s at stake, take a look at what this year’s charred, sodden, and overheated planet looked like from space.

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