Powered by

Home Environment Stories

The New Normal: 2022 sets alarming Climate Change Milestones

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) published its annual report in 2022, stating that climate change has advanced

By Ground report
New Update
The New Normal: 2022 sets alarming Climate Change Milestones

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) published its annual report in 2022, stating that climate change has advanced from mountain peaks to the depths of the ocean.

Its impact has been felt on every continent with droughts, floods and heat waves causing significant damage costing billions of dollars. European glaciers have melted beyond measure, and Antarctic sea ice has reached its lowest extent on record.

The State of Global Climate

The report, titled "The State of the Global Climate 2022," charts the impact of heat-trapping greenhouse gases on land, sea, and atmosphere.

The levels of these gases have reached unprecedented heights, triggering global changes. Despite the cooling effect of the La Niña event in the previous three years, the years 2015-2022 were recorded as the eight consecutive warmest years on record for global temperatures.

It should be noted that melting glaciers and sea level rise, which are expected to reach new highs in 2022, will persist for thousands of years.

Climate change has severe impacts; early warning systems crucial

WMO Secretary-General Prof. Peteri Taalas responded by stating that the acceleration of climate change due to increased greenhouse gas emissions has had severe impacts on populations around the world, caused by extreme weather and climate events.

In 2022, persistent drought in East Africa, record rains in Pakistan, and record heatwaves in China and Europe affected hundreds of millions of people, causing food insecurity, mass migration, and billions of dollars in losses and damages.

Prof. Peteri Taalas also emphasized the effectiveness of cooperation between UN agencies in mitigating the human impacts of extreme weather and climate events, particularly in reducing mortality and associated economic losses.

He highlighted the UN's Early Warning for All Initiative, which aims to close the current capacity gap and ensure that early warning services cover everyone on the planet. Currently, approximately one hundred countries lack adequate meteorological services.

Achieving this ambitious goal will require improvements in observing networks, investments in early warning systems, and enhanced hydrological and climate service capabilities.

Interactive map informs on climate

Paired with the new WMO report is a story map that offers policymakers valuable insight into the role of indicators of climate change, as well as the potential for improved technology to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy more profitable.

The map also makes this information accessible to a wider audience. In addition to tracking climate indicators, the report highlights the impacts of climate change. Throughout the year, dangerous extreme weather and climatic events caused the displacement of many people, worsening the situation of the 95 million who were already displaced at the beginning of the year.

In addition, the report also illuminates the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and the environment, revealing how recurring events in nature, such as tree flowering or bird migration, are affected.

Earth Day 2023 and UN Secretary-General's Message

The WMO State of the Global Climate report was released ahead of Earth Day 2023. Its significant findings reinforce United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' message for Earth Day.

He said: “We have the tools, the knowledge and the solutions. But we have to speed up. We need accelerated climate action with deep and drastic cuts in emissions to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. We need to adapt and a massive investment in resilience is needed, especially for the most vulnerable countries and communities that did the least to prepare for the crisis."


The WMO report is timely, following the publication of the Copernicus Climate Change Service report on the state of Europe's climate by the European Union. The WMO report also complements the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes data up to 2020.

The report was compiled by dozens of experts, including the National Meteorological and Hydrological Service (NMHS), centers for analysis and global data, regional climate centers, the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) and the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW).

Climate Indicators in 2022

  • The global mean temperature in 2022 was 1.15 <1.02 to 1.28> °C above the 1850–1900 average.
  • The years 2015 to 2022 were the eight warmest years in the instrumental record dating back to 1850.
  • Concentrations of three main greenhouse gases hit record highs in 2021 and continued to rise in 2022.
  • Glaciers experienced record thickness decrease, with average 1.3m loss in 2021-2022. Since 2015, six of ten worst years occurred.
  • European Alps had record glacier melt in March 2022 due to little snow and heat waves.
  • Swiss glaciers suffer record loss of ice volume with no snow surviving summer melt, setting new temperature records.
  • Measurements on glaciers in high mountain Asia, western North America, South America and parts of the Arctic also reveal widespread glacier loss. Iceland and northern Norway had some of the biggest gains associated with above-average rainfall and a relatively cool summer.
  • Glaciers globally lost more than 6000 Gt of ice in the period 1993-2019. This represents a volume of water equivalent to 75 lakes the size of the largest lake in Western Europe, Lac Léman (also known as Lake Geneva).
  • The Greenland Ice Sheet ended with a negative total mass balance for the 26th consecutive year.
  • Sea ice in Antarctica declined to 1.92 million km2 on February 25, 2022, the lowest extent on record and nearly 1 million km2 below the long-term (1991-2020) average. For the rest of the year, it was consistently below average, with record lows in June and July.
  • Arctic sea ice in September at the end of summer is tied for the 11th lowest monthly minimum ice extent in the satellite record.
  • In 2022, the ocean heat content is expected to reach a new record high, with 90% of trapped energy from greenhouse gases absorbed by oceans, posing a risk to marine ecosystems. The rate of ocean warming has been high, with 58% of ocean surface experiencing a heatwave despite La Nina.
  • Global Mean Sea Level (GMSL) continued to rise in 2022, reaching a new record high for the satellite altimeter record (1993–2022). The rate of global mean sea level rise doubled between the first decade of the satellite record (1993–2002, 2.27 mm∙yr) and the last (2013–2022, 4.62 mm∙yr).
  • Land ice loss contributed 36% and ocean warming contributed 55% to the global mean sea level (GMSL) rise from 2005-2019. Groundwater storage contributed <10%.

Socio-economic and environmental impact

  • Drought in East Africa has persisted for five consecutive wet seasons, the longest sequence in 40 years, leaving over 20 million people facing acute food insecurity by January 2023.
  • Pakistan faced record-breaking rains in July and August 2022, causing widespread flooding, 1,700 deaths, 33 million people affected, 8 million displaced, and $30 billion economic loss.
  • Europe experienced record-breaking heatwaves and extreme drought conditions during the summer, resulting in more than 15,000 heat-related deaths across Spain, Germany, Britain, France, and Portugal.
  • China experienced its hottest summer on record by more than 0.5 °C due to the most widespread and prolonged heatwave since national records began, lasting from mid-June to late August. It was also the second driest summer on record.
  • In 2021, 2.3 billion people faced food insecurity, with 924 million facing severe food insecurity. Projections predict 767.9 million people will be undernourished, 9.8% of the global population, with half in Asia and a third in Africa.
  • Heatwaves in 2022 pre-monsoon season caused crop yield declines in India and Pakistan. Combined with export bans and Ukraine conflict, it threatens global food supply and exacerbates food shortages.


  • Over 1.7 million people were internally displaced in Somalia and Ethiopia due to the effects of drought on pastoral and agricultural livelihoods, with more than 60,000 people moving to Kenya during the same period. Additionally, Somalia was hosting approximately 35,000 refugees and asylum seekers in drought-affected areas.
  • Around 33 million people in Pakistan, including 800,000 Afghan refugees, were impacted by the floods. By October, the floods caused around 8 million people to be internally displaced, with about 585,000 people taking refuge in relief sites.


  • Global warming is causing the expansion of the temperate zone in the high-altitude region around the Tibetan Plateau, the largest storehouse of snow and ice outside the Arctic and Antarctic.
  • Climate change impacts ecosystems, recurring natural events, and human activities. For instance, global warming is expanding the temperate zone around the Tibetan Plateau, while cherry blossom flowering in Japan has shifted to earlier dates due to climate change and urban development, with 2021 marking the earliest full flowering date in over 1200 years.
  • Ecological impacts of climate change on migratory birds include increasing mismatch of spring arrival times with other key spring events, such as leaf molting and insect flight, which can affect the survival of the birds.

Keep Reading

Follow Ground Report for Climate Change and Under-Reported issues in India. Connect with us on FacebookTwitterKoo AppInstagramWhatsapp and YouTube. Write us on [email protected].