7 photos that show the climate crisis is not a distant threat — it's already here

7 photos that show the climate crisis is not a distant threat — it's already here
A formerly sunken boat sits upright into the air with its stern stuck in the mud along the shoreline of Lake Mead on June 22, 2022.
A formerly sunken boat sits upright into the air as a drought depletes water levels in Lake Mead on June 22, 2022.AP Photo/John Locher
  • Billions of people are already suffering because of climate change, a United Nations report concluded.

  • Research links global rising temperatures to heat waves, droughts, heavy rainfall, and wildfires.

  • Here is a collection of images that showcase the reality of living in an unsettlingly warming world.

A baseball game is played under an eerie California sky

The Houston Astros take batting practice before their game against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum on September 09, 2020 in Oakland, California.
The Houston Astros take batting practice before their game against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum on September 9, 2020 in Oakland, California.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

On September 9, 2020, widespread wildfires in California turned the sky a yellow-orange hue as wildfire smoke heavily filtered sunlight. On that night, the Houston Astros played a game against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland's Ring Central Coliseum.

"I was actually playing Jimi Hendrix today: 'The Sky is Crying.' The sky was crying today," Astros manager Dusty Baker said before the game, The Houston Chronicle reported. "It was orange. I thought I was going to go outside and see Marlon Brando in 'Apocalypse Now'. It's a strange and eerie feeling."

A 19th-century shipwreck is unearthed in the Mississippi River

aerial photo show long wooden shipwreck on dry banks of low green river
A shipwreck is exposed along the banks of the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, due to low water levels, on October 18, 2022.Stephen Smith/AP Photo

In early October, a prolonged drought dried up the Mississippi River, revealing a centuries-old shipwreck in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Archaeologists believe these remains are from a ferry that sunk in the late 19th or early 20th century, the Associated Press reported.

According to a growing body of research, rising global temperatures due to the burning of fossil fuels enhance evaporation, making droughts more severe.

Extreme flooding covers Venetian streets

A view inside the flooded Basilica of St. Mark during an exceptional high tide on November 13, 2019 in Venice, Italy.
A view inside the flooded Basilica of St. Mark during an exceptional high tide on November 13, 2019 in Venice, Italy.Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty Images

On November 12, 2019, Venice suffered its worst flooding since 1966, the Associated Press reported. While the high tides are a yearly occurrence, experts say rising sea levels due to climate change are making the flooding more frequent and intense.

Flood waters surged into ground-floor homes, restaurants, and even St. Mark's Basilica.

A line marks deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, which increased under Bolsonaro

Aerial view of a burnt area in Labrea, southern Amazonas State, Brazil, on September 17, 2022. - According to the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), hotspots in the Amazon region saw a record increase in the first half of September, being the average for the month 1,400 fires per day.
Aerial view of a burnt area in Brazil, on September 17, 2022.MICHAEL DANTAS/AFP via Getty Images

Under former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil cleared large swaths of the Amazon rainforest for farmland, accelerating deforestation.

In 2019 alone, the first year of the Bolsonaro administration, 2.4 million acres — a section of the forest about the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined — was cleared, according to Brazil's National Institute for Space Research.

About 60% of the Amazon rainforest is located in Brazil. And it's teetering on the edge of a tipping point.

If enough of the forest gets burned or clear-cut, it could change the local climate and water cycle enough to cause massive tree die-off, starting an irreversible process that would eventually convert the forest into a savanna. That could release up to 140 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, where the gas would trap heat and accelerate global warming, with catastrophic impacts worldwide.

As the Bolsonaro administration winds down, incoming President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva promises to reverse the environmental damage done in the Amazon.

 

Residents flee from raging wildfires in Greece

People try to move parts of their belongings to safety as a forest fire rages in a wooded area north of Athens. The fire north of Athens flared up again on August 05, 2021.
People try to move their belongings to safety as a forest fire rages in a wooded area north of Athens, Greece in August 2021.Angelos Tzortzinis/picture alliance via Getty Images

In late July and early August 2021, multiple wildfires burned across Greece. As Insider previously reported, temperatures reached 107.6 degrees Fahrenheit — the highest recorded in Greece since 1987.

In this photo, Athens residents move parts of their belongings to safety while the fire burns in a wooded area outside Athens.

Tattered blue tarps cover thousands of homes in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

Blue tarps given out by FEMA cover several roofs two years after Hurricane Maria affected the island in San Juan, Puerto Rico, September 18, 2019.
Blue tarps given out by FEMA cover several roofs two years after Hurricane Maria affected Puerto Rico, on September 18, 2019.RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images

Hurricane Maria was a near-Category 5 storm when it barreled into Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, killing at least 3,000 people. FEMA provided blue tarps to cover hurricane-damaged homes.

In this aerial image, the blue tarps dot many rooftops two years after the hurricane's landfall, in 2019. Five years after the storm, more than 3,600 homes across the island still have a tattered blue tarp serving as a makeshift roof, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Diners eat in a flood-hit restaurant in Thailand

This photo taken on October 7, 2021, shows people enjoying dinner at the Chaopraya Antique Cafe, as flood water from the Chao Phraya River surges into the restaurant, in Nonthaburi province north of Bangkok.
People enjoying dinner at the Chaopraya Antique Cafe, as flood water from the Chao Phraya River surges into the restaurant, on October 7, 2021.LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images

The photo above, taken on October 7, 2021, shows people having dinner at a flood-hit restaurant in Thailand. Floodwater from the Chao Phraya River surged into the Chaopraya Antique Cafe.

"We can see the atmosphere of customers enjoying the experience of eating in the water,"   Titiporn Jutimanon, the owner of the restaurant, told the Associated Press. "So a crisis has turned into an opportunity. It encourages us to keep the restaurant open and keep customers happy."

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