Nearly 130,000 people face starvation in the Horn of Africa as the region’s long-term drought is on track to become the worst on record, according to the World Meteorological Organisation. The drought has decimated crops and killed millions of livestock animals over the past year, bringing food insecurity and malnutrition to 6 million people.
Climate scientists say the weather shift creating the drought has been driven by a rare triple La Niña in the Pacific and three years of below-average temperatures in the Indian Ocean as well. It is hoped the predicted El Niño this year will end it.
Residents across the eastern Great Lakes and the Canadian province of Ontario just suffered through their darkest winter in 73 years. Alaskan climatologist Brian Brettschneider made the calculation by looking at solar energy records from last December to February.
Prolonged lack of sunshine in the depth of winter has been proven to affect human health and can contribute to depression. Gloomy winters can also lead to vitamin D deficiency and a slower metabolism. Toronto went several weeks in December and January without much sunshine.