Japan's famous cherry blossoms have reached their flowery peak in many places earlier this year than at any time since formal records started being kept nearly 70 years ago, with experts saying climate change is the likely cause. Japan's favorite flower, called "sakura," used to reach their peak bloom in April, just as the country celebrates the start of its new school and business year. Yet that date has been creeping earlier and now most years the blossoms are largely gone before the first day of school.
The Paraná River, one of the main commercial waterways in South America, has reached its lowest level in nearly 80 years due to a prolonged drought in Brazil that scientists attribute to climate change. At peril is a vast ecosystem that includes potable water for 40 million people, the livelihood of fishing communities and farmers, and the navigability of a major grain export hub.