Extreme storms, droughts, wildfires, cyclones, tornadoes, floods, and heat waves followed by unseasonable cold snaps, have left thousands dead and multiple thousands injured or homeless around the globe. But the climatic disasters seen so far this year are part of a much wider trend developing in the weather.
During the past 100 years or so, global surface temperatures have gradually increased. This, together with a 50-year meteorological lull (1910 to 1960), helped produce greater worldwide agricultural yields at the start of the last century. By the mid-1950s, output had reached record levels. The 1960s saw the birth of the so-called Green Revolution, spurred on by new hybrid seed, expanded irrigation, and chemical fertilizers and pesticides that promised to alleviate world hunger.