Record Locust Swarms Hint at What’s to Come with Climate Change

County Sustainability Group

Warming oceans that feed cyclones have also bred record-breaking swarms of desert locusts. Such plagues could grow bigger and more widespread with climate change.

The locust attacks of 2019–2020 are the worst of the past 30 years. Credit: Sarwar Panhwar

In mid-June, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) issued a threat level warning to countries across East Africa and southwest Asia: Desert locusts (Schistocerca gregaria) are swarming. A severe outbreak that started in 2019 has spread across the Horn of Africa and the Middle East before moving on to western Asia. Scientists say climate change has played a role in this invasion.

This year’s locust attacks, which spread from Kenya to Pakistan and India, are the worst in the past 30 years.

Usually solitary, locusts become gregarious, or swarm, when there are heavy rains in an arid region. Desert locust swarms are highly destructive, sparing no…

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Cities Are Becoming Climate Death Trap

County Sustainability Group

A new era of heat waves is here. We aren’t ready.

A man cools off in the spray of a fire hydrant during a heat wave in Philadelphia. JESSICA KOURKOUNIS/GETTY IMAGES

As the coronavirus pandemic continues throughout the United States, another deadly pandemic comes out to strike in the summer: extreme heat. Year after year, more people are dying because it’s simply too hot. As of right now, both this country and others lack even an accurate way of counting those deaths—let alone a comprehensive plan to reduce them. Thanks to climate change, it’s about to get much worse.

For the past week, the American South and Southwest have been experiencing record-breaking temperatures. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted above-average heat for nearly the entire U.S. this summer. Unprecedented, early-summer heat waves roasted the Middle East in May and Siberia in June, setting the latter on fire

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