Just over a week ago, Tropical Cyclone Winston smashed into Fiji with ferocious force. By the time it reached the island’s shores, the storm had escalated into a Category 5 event, with gusts of wind reaching 325 kilometers (200 miles) per hour. It was the strongest cyclone ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.
Cyclone Winston has caused more damage to Fiji than any storm on record for this small island state, but it’s only the latest weather-related problem. 2015 was thehottest year on record, and so far 2016 is keeping pace. Only weeks before Winston, Fiji experienced massive fish die-offs linked to excessively hot and still conditions. Coastal fish are the main source of protein for most Fijians, and the area worst hit by these die-offs — the Coral Coast — is the center of Fiji’s renowned tourism industry. Climate change has also been linked to more frequent, stronger El Niños.