Climate Change

Climate change: How global warming fuelled extreme climate disasters in 2022

A residential cul-de-sac is covered in floodwaters after heavy rain in Chehalis, Washington, US.

The summer of 2022 has seen one climate-related disaster after another. Image: REUTERS/Nathan Howard

Kevin Trenberth
Distinguished Scholar, NCAR; Affiliate Faculty, University of Auckland
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Graphic showing surface temperature percentiles for June-August 2022.
The June-August 2022 global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.89 Celsius) above the 20th-century average of 60.1 F (15.6 C). Image: NOAA

A man fighting a wildfire in Spain in July 2022.
Residents fought wildfires in Spain in July 2022 that spread through dry fields and forests. Image: AP Photo/Bernat Armangue

Image showing key elements of the water cycle.
Global warming increases evaporation of surface waters into the atmosphere, drying areas that have had little rain. Image: Global Energy and Water Exchanges
A person holding two children and an umbrella in waist-deep water during an extreme downpour.
A warming climate can lead to more extreme downpours, as Bangladesh and India experienced in 2022. Image: AFP via Getty Images

People leaving a house damaged by flash flooding.
Flash flooding swept through mountain valleys in eastern Kentucky in July 2022, killing more than three dozen people. Image: Seth Herald/AFP

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Graphic showing surface temperature trend 1979-2021.
Surface temperatures increased over most of the planet from 1979 to 2021, with parts of the Arctic rising as much as 5 F (3 C). Image: Dennis Hartmann
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Graphic showing temperature patterns in degrees C, August 2022.
August 2022 had a distinct La Niña weather pattern, with cold waters in the tropical Pacific and intense marine heat waves in the North and South Pacific. The temperatures are compared to the 1991-2020 average. Image: NOAA
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Climate ChangeFuture of the EnvironmentClimate Indicators
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