Large parts of Europe experienced this past week a major heatwave, with temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius across southern and western parts of the continent and even in United Kingdom. The scorching heat and exceedingly dry weather have caused unprecedented drought in Italy and a string of forest fires in Portugal and Greece, Spain and France.
Meteorologists at the UK Met Office - the official weather forecast agency for the UK - dove in the summer of 2020 to the super long-range climate models to see what kind of temperatures they'd be forecasting in three decades. Well, last Monday and Tuesday, the "plausible" becomes reality - 8 years early.
June 2022 was Earth’s 6th-warmest on record
June’s average global temperature continued 2022’s remarkably warm trend, as both the month and the year so far ranked sixth warmest on record. In addition, global sea ice reached near-record lows last month, with Antarctica seeing its lowest June ice coverage on record. Extreme weather events – from scorching heatwaves to unusually heavy downpours – have caused widespread upheaval across the globe this year, with thousands of people killed and millions more displaced.
Also episodes of heavy rainfall are becoming more common and more intense. That's because warmer air holds more moisture, so storm clouds are "heavier" before they eventually break. In the last three months, monsoon rains unleashed disastrous flooding in Bangladesh, and brutal heat waves seared parts of South Asia and Europe. Meanwhile, prolonged drought has left millions on the brink of famine in East Africa. The mega drought in the American Southwest has become so severe that it’s now the driest two decades in the region in at least 1,200 years, scientists said.
Team of climate scientists recently published a study in the journal Environmental Research: Climate. The findings confirm warnings of how global warming will change our world - and also make clear what information is missing. Heatwaves across the Northern Hemisphere in June - from Europe to the United States - highlight "exactly what our review paper shows … the frequency of heatwaves has gone up so much," said co-author of study and climatologist Friederike Otto.
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