From summer heat across the northern hemisphere to a cruel drought inflicting massive hunger in East Africa, 2022 has been nearly relentless in extreme weather.

While hazards like hurricanes and wildfires occur naturally, climate breakdown is making them worse, scientists say.

And they agree that extreme weather events will become “more frequent in most places around the world”, warned Professor Tom Oliver, who specializes in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Reading.

But what’s less known is “how these events interact with each other and cause ripple effects,” he said.

“Extreme weather conditions are implicated in food shortages, massive human displacements and geopolitical conflicts.

“These complex risk cascades are impossible to predict with precision but, in general, we face a more volatile and unstable world due to accelerating climate change,” he added.

Here are just seven new records broken in 2022:

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Fires broke out in England during July heatwave

1. Record heat in the UK has left people and infrastructure struggling to cope

For the first time, temperatures soared to 40°C in the UK this summer, an event made ten times more likely by climate changesay the scientists.

Extreme weather conditions have grounded flights, warped train lines and fueled devastating fires that have destroyed homes.

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Homes still burning after heat wave fires

Mike Kendon of the Met Office said at the time what stood out was “how much more widespread the heat was” than in previous heatwaves.

“Temperature records tend to be broken by modest amounts and by just a few stations, but recent heat has broken the national record by 1.6C and across a large region of the country,” he said. .

Across Europe, the average temperature was the highest on record for the August and summer period with “substantial margins” of 0.8°C for August and 0.4°C for the summer, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service.

Dead fish lay on the dry bed of the Tille River in Lux, France, Tuesday August 9, 2022. Burgundy, home to the source of the Seine which flows through Paris, is normally a very green region.  This year the grass has turned yellow, depriving livestock of fresh food, and tractors are sending giant clouds of dust into the air as farmers work their dry fields.  (AP Photo/Nicholas Garriga)
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Dead fish left on the dry bed of the Tille River in Lux, France, in August. Photo: AP

2. The worst drought in Europe for 500 years

All this heat fueled Europe the worst drought for some 500 years, according to a preliminary analysis. The parched conditions have shrunk plants and rivers, leaving hordes of dead fish and failed crops.

The drought has exacerbated the energy crisis by evaporating water from hydroelectric lakes and hampering the cooling of nuclear power plants.

What made it so bad was that “most of Europe” was exposed to heat waves and dry weather, an EU researcher said.

In the second-worst drought, in 2018, dry and hot weather in central and northern Europe was partially offset by wet conditions in the south.

Photo: AP
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Photo: AP

3. Drought-triggered famine in East Africa

This year, Somalia and Ethiopia suffered what is thought to be the worst drought in 40 years, fueled by climate change.

It has driven people to hunger and the brink of starvation, threatening the lives and livelihoods of 36 million people.

The catastrophic levels of hunger in drought-stricken Madagascar are expected to be an “awakening” to the current and serious danger of global warmingwarned the World Food Program in August, as the country teetered on the brink of the world’s first famine induced by climate change.

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Drought and famine in East Africa

4. Europe’s wildfires – second highest on record, but pollution has crossed new frontiers

Violent and scorching fires across Europe were fueled by longer, hotter heat waves and droughts.

More land has been burned than in any other year on record except 2017, when Cyclone Ophelia intensified an unseasonable fire in October in Portugal.

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Forest fires rage across Europe

But the amount of harmful pollution has hit a new record, with total EU and UK emissions from June to August 2022 believed to be the highest for those months since the summer of 2007.

Emissions from forest fires are a major source of air pollutants, which pollute the air and harm human health.

“This year’s fire season has been very intense in terms of burned areas, but especially in terms of [the] number of fires and levels of fire danger,” Dr Jesús San-Miguel-Ayanz, from the European Commission’s Disaster Risk Management Unit, told Sky News.

Photo: AP
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Photo: AP

5. India and Pakistan heat ‘a sign of things to come’

As Pakistan and India swelter in a spring heatwave, scientists warned record temperatures had been reached 100 times more likely by the climate crisis.

It was a “sign of things to come,” they said when releasing the study.

India experienced its hottest March since records began more than 120 years ago, and land surface temperatures in southern Ahmedabad soared to 65C in April.

The searing heat has worsened power shortages, with increased demand leaving many people without power. It also wiped out 50% of yields of some crops.

When the mercury soared to 50.2C in Nawabshah, a town in southern Pakistan, it was thought to be the highest temperature ever reliably measured in April for any place on Earth. .

An aerial view of damaged and flooded homes after Hurricane Ian tore through the area, in this still image from video in Lee County, Florida, U.S., September 29, 2022. WPLG TV via ABC via REUTERS.  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY THIRD PARTY MANDATORY CREDIT
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An aerial view of damaged and flooded homes after Hurricane Ian tore through Lee County in Florida, USA. Pic: ABC via Reuters

6. Count the cost of Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian is the costliest disaster this year, with preliminary insured losses estimated at $50bn (£41.1bn).

Category 4 hurricane made landfall in West Florida in late September with extreme winds, torrential rains and storm surges.

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Sofa saves man’s life during Hurricane Ian

The Swiss Re Institute predicts it will be the second costliest insured loss after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, following Super Hurricane Sandy in 2012 that swept through New York and New Jersey.

The aftermath of Hurricane Ian has resulted in increased infections from a rare flesh-eating bacterium.

Photo: AP
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Homes are surrounded by floodwaters in the town of Sohbat Pur, a district in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province, Photo: AP

7. Severe flooding in Pakistan burst banks and broke records

From mid-June to late August, large areas of Pakistan experienced record monsoon rains.

It inflicted flash floods and landslides, and saw overflowing rivers and glacial lakes. The floods uprooted more than 32 million people, destroyed 1.7 million homes and killed more than 1,700 people.

The South Asian nation received more than three times its usual rainfall in August, making it the wettest August since
1961.

Two southern provinces, Sindh and Balochistan, had their wettest August on record, receiving seven and eight times their usual monthly totals respectively.

The multi-billion dollar damage inflicted on the middle-income country, which has done relatively little to cause climate change, reignited the debate over who pays for climate disasters.

Watch the Daily Climate Show at 3.30pm Monday to Friday and The Climate Show with Tom Heap Saturday and Sunday at 3.30pm and 7.30pm.

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The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.

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