A number of weather and climate-related disasters such as extreme floods, heat, drought, and wildfires have affected millions and cost billions in 2022, the UN weather agency World Meteorological Organisation has said while talking about the “tell-tale signs and impacts” of intensified climate change. The need to check rising greenhouse gas emissions was underscored throughout 2022, which saw some of the worst weather events in the last two decades. As the year comes to an end, here’s a look at some of the worst weather events in 2022.
Heatwaves | Exceptional hot and dry weather conditions were witnessed in parts of the northern hemisphere in 2022. China recorded the most extensive and long-lasting heatwave since the country started maintaining national records. Temperatures soared to 40.9 degrees celsius on July 10 in Shanghai, the highest recorded since 1873. (Image: Reuters)
Record-breaking temperatures were achieved in late November and early December 2022 in areas centred around Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. The United Kingdom achieved a new national record in July when temperatures soared over 40 degrees celsius for the very first time. “Record-breaking heatwaves have been observed in China, Europe, and North and South America”, Taalas said. (Image: Reuters)
In 2022, India saw one of the most severe and intense heatwaves in decades. Summer arrived early, while parts of the north, central and east India experienced one of the worst spells of heatwaves from March to May. In March, India recorded an average maximum temperature of 33.10 degrees celsius, which is the highest in the last 122 years. (Image: Reuters)
Rain | Record-breaking rain from June to October in Pakistan led to extensive flooding, washing away thousands of homes and killing at least 1,739 people. The floods are believed to have displaced 7.9 million and affected 33 million people. According to local officials, the floodwaters could take up to six months to recede completely. (Image: Reuters)
Droughts | For four consecutive wet seasons, rainfall in East Africa has been below average. This is the longest period of a dry spell in 40 years, which has triggered a major humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, devastating agriculture and killing livestock. The “worst drought in over 40 years” has put millions at risk of starvation. In July, more than 200 people died from hunger in northeastern Uganda due to the prolonged drought. (Image: Reuters)
Earthquake | On June 21, an earthquake of magnitude-5.9 hit eastern Afghanistan, causing landslides that destroyed thousands of homes and killed around 1,036 people, the UN reported. This was the deadliest earthquake in decades in Afghanistan. (Image: Reuters)
Wildfires | In May, hundreds of households in the New Mexico city of Las Vegas were evacuated as fierce winds and drought fuelled the largest wildfire in the US. The fire engulfed over 121,000 acres of forests bringing down centuries-old settlements and vacation homes in forested mountains 48 kilometres northeast of Santa Fe. Scientists believe the wildfire, which raged for 40 days in New Mexico, was a result of climate change. (Image: Reuters)