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This year's summer of climate extremes hits wealthier places

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Posted at 2:31 AM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 08:12:46-04

Scientists say there’s something different this year as the world staggers through another summer of extreme weather.

Wealthy countries such as the United States, Canada, Germany and Belgium are joining poorer and more vulnerable nations on a growing list of extreme weather events that scientists say have some connection to human-caused climate change.

“It is not only a poor country problem, it’s now very obviously a rich county problem,” said Debby Guha-Sapir, founder of the international disaster database at the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters at Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. “They (the rich) are getting whacked.”

A lot of the regions that have experienced weather-related disasters this year are places that previously were spared global warming's wrath.

The extreme events include unprecedented flooding in Germany and Belgium, and blistering temperatures in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

Now, southern Europe is seeing scorching temperatures and out-of-control blazes, too, and the peak Atlantic hurricane and wildfire seasons in the U.S. are knocking at the door. Colorado State University has already increased its forecast for the number of named Atlantic storms — and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will update its season outlook on Wednesday.