Last July was one of the three hottest on record, with prolonged and intense heat waves affecting various parts of Europe, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported.
Temperatures topped 40 degrees Celsius in parts of Portugal, Spain, France and the UK, which hit that record for the first time. Several thousand people perished from causes associated with heat waves.
An unusually high number of days with maximum temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius was observed in the Iberian Peninsula, highlighting the duration of warm temperatures in this region.
The United States also had its third-warmest July ever, with temperatures above average or hitting records in nearly every state, and heat waves with daytime records approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit, contributing to record energy demand and illness. related to heat.
The WMO said that, globally, warm July was about 0.4 degrees Celsius above the baseline period, 1991-2020, slightly cooler than July 2019 and slightly warmer than July 2016.
With the heat came the drought, and July 2022 was drier than average across much of Europe, with record low rainfall in several countries, affecting local economies and agriculture, and increasing the risk of wildfires.
France, for example, had the driest July ever recorded, with a national rainfall deficit of 85%, according to its weather service.
In the United States, it was reported that at the end of July, 51.4% of the territory of its contiguous states was in a drought situation, and fires throughout the country had burned, between January and July, 5.7 million acres (2.3 million hectares), almost 1.5 times the average for this time of year.
Unusually hot and dry weather continues this August. In a press conference on July 18, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said that heat waves “are becoming more common because of climate change, and in the future, they will be normal and we will see extremes even more.” powerful”.
By 2050, about half of the European population may be exposed to a high or very high risk of heat stress during the summer, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
In the southern hemisphere, higher-than-average temperatures were recorded in central South America and southern Africa, as well as in the northern Pacific and the ocean adjacent to the Antarctic Peninsula.
Antarctic sea ice extent reached its lowest value for July in 44 years of satellite records.
The average of that area was 15.3 million square kilometres, 1.1 million square kilometres (seven per cent) below the average for the period 1991-2020 for July, and was well below the previous minimum for that period. month.
With the warmth in the northern hemisphere, the Arctic sea ice extent was also four per cent below average.
Instead, there were below-average temperatures in the western Indian Ocean, from the Horn of Africa to southern India, across much of central Asia, as well as most of Australia, according to the Climate Change Service. the European entity Copernicus.
Also, by contrast, wetter-than-average conditions were notable in eastern Russia, northern China, and a large wet swath from eastern Africa through Asia to northwestern India, according to Copernicus.
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