The age of fire, water, and ever-shrinking ice

The age of fire, water, and ever-shrinking ice

2023 has been a year for the record books when it comes to temperatures, fires, rainfall, and floods. It’s also been a year in which the temperature of the oceans has soared, ice at the poles has diminished, and record-size hailstones have fallen during severe storms. The U.S. has already seen at least 15 severe weather events, generating costs of over $1 billion each—and we’re only halfway through a hurricane season that’s predicted to be “above normal.”

In so many ways, 2023 has been the hottest, wettest, stormiest, and most unpredictable year most people have ever experienced. It could also be, terrifyingly enough, the coolest and most stable year any of us will know in the future.

This is the year the climate crisis went from something that many people ignored, to a reality that saw some of those people taking to boats to escape flooding, or driving in caravans through massive fires. And way too often, in the United States and around the world, people have been unable to escape these climate-driven disasters in a year that has already been terrible—and is far from over.

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