Currently — May 1st, 2023

The weather, currently.

Happy May Day! So far this Spring has been a weird one in the United States, with trees leafing out either waaaay early (if you're in the Southeast) or waaaay late (if you're out West). That tracks with the wild Winter we've had too that left most of the Northeast with nary a snowflake and the California ski resorts buried up to the rooftops. These kinds of stuck weather patterns are an area of active research when it comes to climate change. If you're looking to become a climate scientist in your free time, this is one good area to study.

— Eric Holthaus

Spring is either really really early, or really really late this year, depending on where you are.

What you need to know, currently.

Human-induced climate change caused East Africa’s worst drought in at least 40 years, according to a new study from the World Weather Attribution initiative.

This drought was brought upon by rising temperatures from the burning of fossil fuels and stunted much-needed rainfall to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, the study revealed. In fact, last fall, the rainfall was far below average for a fifth season in a row—a new record.

The historic drought displaced more than a million people and led millions more to famine. By the end of 2022, the World Food Program reported that around 23 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia were “severely food insecure,” or had run out of food and gone a day or more without eating. Almost one million children suffered acute malnutrition, and another million residents had to leave their homes to find food, water, and work.

In a region where most people make their livelihoods through agriculture, this drought was particularly devastating for farmers whose crops failed. Many herders’ cattle died as well, forcing them to abandon their generations-long jobs.

According to the study, droughts like these simply would not happen in a cooler world. This research also reveals climate change’s disproportionate effects in more vulnerable countries, which have fewer resources to recover and historically have been exploited by more developed countries, lessening their climate resilience.

“The focus needs to be on reducing vulnerability,” said Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London and the study’s co-author, in an interview with The Washington Post. “One drought shouldn’t mean years and years of hunger.”

—Aarohi Sheth

What you can do, currently.

Happy May Day! Some big news: Currently is transitioning to become an entirely member-funded organization. That's right: No more ads. Starting today.

We're doing this to boost our organization's prospects for growth and sustainability, and to align more with our founding ethos of becoming an independent weather service for the climate emergency.

Paid members will have a truly premium weather experience. Here's some of what we have planned:

  • Text directly with Eric, our founder, who will personally answer your weather questions and give you a customized forecast on demand.
  • Our first weather app, which will put your daily weather in the context of climate change, no matter where you are, anywhere in the world.
  • Reader-ownership — an experiment in direct democracy so that Currently can remain accountable to our most important stakeholders, you, the readers.

We have SO MANY more exciting features planned, but we can't do this without your direct support. Your paid membership makes Currently possible.