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‘More volatile and unstable world’: How 2022 kept breaking new extreme weather records

2022 was a year of extreme weather, with heat in the north hemisphere and drought in the east.

Scientists say that while natural hazards such as wildfires and hurricanes can occur, climate change is making them more dangerous.

They agree that extreme weather events will become more frequent in most places around the globe, warned Professor Tom Oliver of Reading University. Oliver is a specialist in ecology and evolutionary biology.

He said that what is less known is the “interaction between these events and their knock-on effects”.


“Extreme weather is linked to food shortages, mass displacement and geopolitical conflicts.

He said that although these complex risk cascades are difficult to predict, it is a fact that we will be facing a more volatile world due to accelerating climate change.

These are seven new records that were broken in 2022.

Learn more about Climate Change

Image In July’s heatwave, fires broke out in England.

1. People and infrastructure in the UK were left struggling to cope with record heat from the UK.

For the first time ever, temperatures soared to 40degC in the UK this summer, an event <a href=",UK%20heatwave%20was%20made%2010%20times%20more%20likely%20by%20climate,climate%20models%20simulate%2C%20analysis%20reveals." Scientists claim that climate change has made the UK heatwave ten times more likely.

Extreme weather halted flights and buckled trainlines, causing devastating fires that decimated homes.

Mike Kendon, Met Office, stated that the most striking thing about the heatwave was the “remarkable extent of the heat” compared to previous heatwaves.

He said that temperature records are often broken by small amounts and only a few stations. However, the most recent heat broke the national record at 1.6degC across a large area of the country.

According to Copernicus Climate Change Service, Europe’s average temperature was at its highest for August and summer. There were “substantial margins”, of 0.8degC in August and 0.4degC in summer.

Image: In August, dead fish were found on the Tille’s dried-up riverbed in Lux, France. Pic by AP

2. Europe’s worst drought in 500 years

According to preliminary analysis, all that heat has fuelled Europe’s most severe drought in 500 years. The dry conditions caused rivers and plants to shrivel, resulting in a lot of dead fish and crops.

The drought caused an energy crisis by evaporating hydropower lakes water and preventing cooling of nuclear power stations.

It was because “most” of Europe was exposed to dry weather and compounding heatwaves. An EU researcher stated.

The second worst drought of 2018, 2018 saw dry and hot conditions in central and northern Europe partially compensated by wet weather in the south.

Image Photo: AP

3. East Africa is suffering from drought-triggered famine

Climate change has caused the worst drought in 40-years for Somalia and Ethiopia.

It has brought people to the brink and driven them to hunger, threatening their lives and livelihoods and displacing 36 million.

The alarming levels of hunger in drought-stricken Madagascar must be as a wake-up call to the imminent danger of global heating . This warning was issued by the World Food Programme in August, as the country was on the brink of the first climate-driven famine.

Image In July, hundreds of firefighters battled to control a fire in the Gironde region in southwestern France.

4. Europe wildfires: second highest ever recorded, but pollution breaks new ground

The hottest, most destructive wildfires in Europe were fueled by drought and longer heatwaves.

More land was burned than any other year except 2017, when the Ophelia Cyclon intensified an unseasonal October fire, Portugal.

However, the level of harmful pollution reached a new high. The total emissions from the UK and the European Union from June to August 2022 were the highest since 2007.

Wildfire emissions can be a significant source for atmospheric pollutants that make the air polluted and cause harm to human health.

Sky News was told by Dr Jesus San-Miguel-Ayanz from the European Commission’s Disaster Risk Management Unit that “this year’s fire season had been very intense in terms burnt areas but especially in terms [of] fire danger levels and fire danger levels.”

Image Photo: AP

5. India and Pakistan heat are a sign of things yet to come

Scientists warned that record-breaking temperatures were 100x more likely because of the climate crisis.

They called it a “sign of the times” when they published their study.

India experienced its hottest March in records since 120 years ago. In April, the land surface temperature in south Ahmedabad reached 65 degrees Celsius.

With a rise in demand, many were left without power due to the heat. It also destroyed 50% of some crop yields.

It was the highest temperature ever measured reliably in April at any place on Earth, with the mercury reaching 50.2 degrees Celsius in Nawabshah (a city in south Pakistan).

Image Aerial view of inundated and damaged homes following Hurricane Ian in Florida. Pic: ABC via Reuters

6. The cost of Hurricane Ian

The most costly catastrophe of the year is Hurricane Ian, which has an estimated insured loss of $50bn (PS41.1bn).

Category 4 hurricane struck western Florida in late September, bringing with it extreme winds, torrential rainfall and storm surge.

According to Swiss Re Institute, it will be the second-highest insured loss after Hurricane Katrina 2005. This is more than Superstorm Sandy 2012 that ravaged New York and New Jersey.

After Hurricane Ian, there was an increase in cases of rare flesh-eating bacteria.

Image Floodwaters surround homes in Sohbat Pur, a district in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan Province. Pic: AP

7. Pakistani floods caused by violent flooding have broken river banks and damaged records

Large areas of Pakistan experienced record-breaking rainfall from mid-June through late August.

Flash floods and landslides were caused by the flooding, which also saw rivers overflowing and glacial lakes. More than 32 million people were displaced by the flooding, which also destroyed more than 1.7 million houses and claimed more than 1,700 lives.

This august was the wettest since 2005, with more than three-times its normal August rainfall.


Two provinces in the south, Sindh, and Balochistan, had their wettest Augusts ever. They received seven- and eight-fold their normal monthly averages, respectively.

The multibillion-dollar damages that were inflicted upon the middle-income country , which has done very little to cause climate changes, rekindled the debate over who pays for the climate disasters .

The Daily Climate Show airs at 3.30pm Monday through Friday and The Climate Show with Tom Heap Saturday and Sunday at 3.30pm, 7.30pm and 7.30pm respectively.

All about Sky News on Sky News’ website and app on YouTube and Twitter.

This show examines how global warming has impacted our environment and offers solutions.


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