A year of Climate Disaster
2022 was a year of extreme weather events: severe storms, record-breaking floods, droughts, typhoons, heatwaves. Few regions were spared.
China endured a heat wave that was more intense, longer-lasting (at least 70 days), and spread over a wider area than any in recent history. More than 100 million people were affected.
Europe may have suffered the most extreme heat wave in its history, as a mass of warm air
from the west coast of Africa moved across Europe. Some European countries recorded January temperatures that would normally occur in late spring. Records were broken in Poland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Germany, the UK, the south of France and northern Spain.
The Horn of Africa suffered the most severe drought in decades. A catastrophic drought in Somalia displaced a million people. Nearly half of Somalia's population faces extreme hunger and thousands of children died.
Many parts of Asia are experiencing catastrophic heat waves. Torrential rain hit the Philippines, causing flash floods.
In the USA, a historic winter storm affected more than 200 million people - about 60% of the US population. Buffalo, New York, received 49 inches of snow in three days. Some people died while shovelling snow; others were found dead inside their stranded cars.
Australia was hammered by severe thunderstorms.
Is the Earth warming?
As we continue to burn fossil fuels, global average temperatures rise, resulting in weather patterns that can make floods, droughts and other extremes more likely.
Each of the seven years in 2015-2021 was warmer than any pre-2014 year. If 2022 was not the hottest year on record globally - 2016 holds that honor, influenced by El Niño's warming effect - temperatures are predicted to rise further in 2023.
What's the link between heat and storms?
As Earth's climate warms, our atmosphere absorbs more moisture which then precipitates out as heavy rain or snow. The uneven heating of the Earth's surface can provoke strong winds as air blows from high- to low-pressure areas.
What can we expect in 2023?
The year 2023 is expected to be even warmer.
According to the IPCC, nearly half the world’s population will be at severe risk of climate change impacts by 2030, even with global warming of just 1.5-degrees.