Climate change has affected the entire world as average temperatures continue to rise on a yearly basis, but there are some parts of the world where it has been more obvious. Between natural disasters and rising water levels, the evidence of climate change is felt in some countries to the point where natural disasters are almost expected at this point.
There are dozens of countries that have been heavily impacted by climate change, but a handful really stand out as having some of the more concrete evidence. Here are five countries whose climates have changed the most in the 21st century, the effects of that change, and what to expect in the future.
There has been a long list of natural disasters in the island country of Haiti, a lot of which are attributed to earthquakes that can’t really be placed on climate change. However, there have been plenty of tropical storms and hurricanes, which have been more frequent and intense due to changes during the 21st century. The average air temperature in Haiti climbed steadily during the 1980s and 1990s, plummeting briefly in 2011 before skyrocketing back up to an all-time high.
That massive increase in temperature in 2012 was responsible for the severity of Hurricane Sandy, which came while the country was still recovering from a massive 2010 earthquake. Sandy left hundreds of thousands without homes while killing more than 100 people due to massive floods. Other hurricanes in the 21st century include Matthew, laura, Tomas, and Gustav.
Unlike Haiti, Japan is well-equipped to handle earthquakes, but other natural disasters can cause havoc in the country. Most people know about the earthquake in 2011 that was the largest recorded in Japan’s history, as well as the tsunami that followed and left nearly 20,000 dead and thousands more missing. That disaster was not an indicator of climate change, however.
Japan hasn’t seen as extreme of a temperature increase over the 21st century as many of the other developed nations around the world, but it is still apparent. Japan has received a ‘highly insufficient’ grade for its policies regarding climate change, and even a slightly continued increase in temperature could cause extreme damage. With rising water levels, Japan as a whole is in danger, and experts predict that Japan’s coasts could suffer $1 trillion in damages over the next couple of decades.
Very few countries have seen the type of temperature increase in the 21st century quite as Afghanistan has. For much of the 20th century, the average temperature was actually below average and had a downward trend, but that all changed in the 2000s due to a wide range of factors. The country has been designated by experts as one of the world’s most vulnerable, especially as they rely on hydropower.
Extended periods of drought and rising temperatures have left Afghanistan in a food crisis. There are even some residents who have said that they fear the lack of food as a result of climate change more than they do the Taliban. This has led to a mass exodus of citizens from Afghanistan who are hoping to find greener pastures, as the country is expected to be devastated in the coming decades.
Canada doesn’t really seem like the type of country that would be on this list, especially as they’ve taken more action toward climate change than many others. However, Canada is still one of the leading oil-producing countries in the world and, as a result, has had more greenhouse gas emissions than all but six other nations.
The country also has the highest emissions per capita, while deforestation has also played a large role in Canada’s climate. There are more extreme weather events in Canada each passing year, and this includes wildfires, torrential downpours, and drought-laden heat waves that affect the country’s crops. Sea levels have been rising in Canada, especially in the southwestern and southeastern regions.
Germany is another one of those countries that are leading the fight against climate change after seeing its nation affected heavily. Temperatures in Germany have risen at a faster rate than in many other developed nations, and it has caused the Alpine glaciers to melt at a faster rate, and has led to flooding. While it’s a good thing that the glaciers are melting, it needs to be slower to be sustained.
Eventually, no water from the glaciers will cause rivers to dry up and lead to extended periods of drought for Germany. Experts also say that in a few decades, there won’t be any colder parts of Germany left as the entirety of the country becomes part of a warm climate zone.