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Brazil's Forest Fires, Delhi's Smog: A Terrible 2019 For Planet Earth

The Year Nature Hit Back
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The Year Nature Hit Back

2019 has been an unforgettable year, for all the wrong reasons: From killer smog (R) to forest fires (L), drought to flood to hurricanes, the planet saw it all.

Agencies
​Forest Fires Brazil
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​Forest Fires Brazil

While forest fires in the Amazon during August and September are an annual occurrence, this year’s scale surpassed all estimates. Official figures show 87,000 fires in the first eight months of 2019, almost double that of 2018’s figure. Considering Amazon is the world’s green lung, this is especially tragic.

Getty Images
Bush Fires Australia
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Bush Fires Australia

Millions of acres of vegetation were burnt as bush fires raged across eastern Australia. The blaze prompted authorities to issue a “catastrophic” warning, the worst threat ever issued for Sydney, as over 100 deadly fires produced clouds of smoke seen as far away as New Zealand. (Image: AFP)

Agencies
Hurricane Dorian Bahamas
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Hurricane Dorian Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian devastated Bahamas in September, the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. With winds peaking at 185 kph, it’s estimated to have caused damage in excess of $3.5 billion. There were at least 65 deaths, while hundreds are still missing.

Getty Images
​Glacier Meltdown Antarctica
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​Glacier Meltdown Antarctica

Glaciers along the coast of Antarctica are melting at an alarming rate as warmer waters and hotter temperatures eat away at the snow. A NASA report this year said the Antarctic ice sheet is melting nearly six times as fast as it did 40 years ago, thereby contributing to a rise in sea levels worldwide. And the really worrying trend? Things are actually getting worse, and sections are melting faster than before.

(Representative image)

Getty Images
Smog, Pollution India
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Smog, Pollution India

Smog envelops India’s national capital every November, and this year’s air quality was extremely hazardous yet again. In the first week of November, AQI was over 900 in some areas, and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the city had become a “gas chamber”.

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Copyright © 2019 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service