A fierce Atlantic storm, Desmond, struck parts of northern England, southern Scotland and Ireland the first weekend in December 2015, with a new national record for rainfall accumulation in a 24-hour period.
A relentless downpour pounded Tamil Nadu’s capital city of Chennai on December 1, 2015, flooding and submerging one of India’s largest cities. The heaviest one-day rainfall in the region – as much as 494 mm (19.45 inches) – in more than a century left more than three million people without basic services.
With colleagues at the University of Reading, we performed a simple analysis to assess what factors played a role in this record heat, specifically the roles of greenhouse gas emissions associated with global warming, the natural climate oscillation known as El Niño, as well as solar activity and volcanic aerosols.
South east Brazil experienced profound water shortages in 2014–15. Anthropogenic climate change was not found to be a major influence on the hazard, whereas increasing population and water consumption increased vulnerability.
The worst drought in decades gripped north and central Ethiopia in 2015, affecting nearly 10 million people. The resulting food scarcity meant more than eight million people in the parched country needed emergency food aid, according to the United Nations.