In photos: 2021’s devastating climate disasters

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Climate disasters in 2021 will affect millions of lives, cause billions of dollars in economic damage worldwide and bring into reality the dangers of higher temperatures and climate change in general.

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big picture: Preliminary data has ranked 2021 as the sixth warmest year on record. Meteorologists warn that rising surface temperatures make floods, droughts, heat and cold waves, wildfires and tropical storms and hurricanes more common and intense.

By numbers: A recent study estimated that the disasters of extreme weather and climate events last year caused a total of $170.3 billion in economic losses on top of severe human suffering.

  • The United States has the second largest number of weather and climate disasters worth billions of dollars a year on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
In pictures:
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A winter storm that struck Texas in February left millions without power and killed at least 246.

A man descends from a sidewalk in McKinney, Texas, in February 2021. Photo: Cooper Neill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Wildfires ravaged the western US again last year, with California recording the second largest fire in its history.

A fire breaks out at a structure near Janesville, Calif., during the Dixie Fire in August 2021. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images
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One of the strongest and most destructive storms ever recorded in the US, Hurricane Ida killed at least 91 people in nine states after making landfall in late August. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

A man rescues belongings from a home destroyed by Hurricane Ida in Laplace, Louisiana in August 2021. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The extreme rainfall and flooding brought on by the remnants of Hurricane Ida killed at least 40 people across the northeastern US in early September, including at least twelve confirmed deaths in New York City.

A flooded expressway in Brooklyn, New York in September 2021. Photo: Ed Jones / AFP via Getty Images

At least 184 people were killed in rare severe flooding in Germany and Belgium in July.

A man helps clean up after a massive flood in July 2021 in Bad Neuenhrer-Ahrweiler, Germany. Photo: Thomas Lohness/Getty Images

In July, thousands of people were evacuated and at least 12 people were killed in heavy floods caused by torrential rains in China’s Henan province.

Rescuers evacuate people from the city of Weihui after torrential rain caused heavy flooding in parts of China’s Henan province in July.

Hurricane Rai hit the Philippines in December, killing more than 300 people and injuring at least 500 others.

An aerial view of the destruction in Burgos, Philippines, after Typhoon Rai wreaked havoc in parts of the country in December. Photo: Roel Catoto/AFP via Getty Images

In August, Greece’s second-largest island of Evia was forced to evacuate hundreds of people after drought conditions caused wildfires, destroyed homes and businesses and killed wildlife.

People try to put out a forest fire near the village of Pefki, Greece in August 2021. Photo: Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP via Getty Images

Unusually intense wildfires for several months also affected parts of Siberia, with some of the northernmost fires threatening to disturb the layer of permafrost that surrounds the Arctic.

A firefighter battles a forest fire in Siberia, Russia, in August 2021. Photo: Russian Hawaii Forest ConservationTASS via Getty Images)

A historic heatwave in the Pacific Northwest in late June and early July killed hundreds in the US and Canada and left thousands hospitalized for heat-related illness.

People rest at a cooling station in Portland, Oregon, during the hot summer in July 2021. Photo: Katherine Elsesser/AFP via Getty Images

go in: The last 7 years have been the 7 warmest on Earth

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