Burning Up

Hottest summer ever: 2022 broke records all over the world

Climate catastrophes made headlines across the globe.

Originally Published: 
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Between expansive wildfires, catastrophic flooding, and suffocating heat waves, summer 2022 has been extreme on many counts.

Now, the numbers are in.

Recent data analysis from the European Union’s Copernicus Programme shows that summer 2022 — defined as June through August — broke several records across the globe.



Thanks to the surveillance of satellites and weather monitoring stations, we can confidently say that this summer was one for the record books.

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Here are 5 stats from 2022’s record-breaking summer:

5. Europe experienced its hottest summer on record.

Extreme temperatures swept the continent from June through August, with an average increase of 0.4 degrees Celcius from last summer.


Temperature increases were high across the continent, but the biggest anomalies were in the northeast and southwest areas of Europe.

Copernicus Climate Change Service/ECMWF


Globally, this was the third hottest summer ever recorded.

August alone was 0.30° C hotter this year than it was from 1991 to 2020, on average.

4. Emissions from European wildfires were the highest in 15 years.

Southwestern Europe saw particularly bad blazes this summer, fueling an increase in wildfire-induced carbon emissions.


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Comparatively, North American wildfire emissions were lower than last summer on average.

Clusters of fires in Alaska and Northern Canada emitted the most this summer, as seen from this map.

Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS)
4. Fires in the Amazon rainforest are at a 10-year high.

More than 31,500 fire alerts were issued in the Amazon rainforest during the first 30 days of August.



Those numbers make August 2022 the worst August for Amazon wildfires in ten years.

And fire season is still going strong in September.

This aerosol map shows emissions from the fires ballooning across South America from September 5 to 10.

Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS)
2. Antarctica saw its second-lowest sea ice coverage on record in August.

It was at 4 percent below average, which is tied with levels from August 2002.

Alf Jacob Nilsen / 500px/500Px Plus/Getty Images

Alf Jacob Nilsen / 500px/500Px Plus/Getty Images

Things weren’t great in the Arctic, either. There was 5 percent less sea ice than normal for August.

The worst its ever gotten was 21 percent below average in 2012.

This map compares Antarctic ice in August 2022 with historical levels from 1991 to 2020 outlined in red.

Copernicus Climate Change Service/ECMWF
1. Europe, Asia, and Africa saw some of their worst droughts — and floods — in years

Extended heat waves hit some countries, while others were pelted with extreme rains.



In Pakistan, for example, the country’s meteorological department reports that the nation saw a 243 percent increase in precipitation in August.

This overview map shows how some regions in Europe became wetter (blue) and drier (orange/red) through the summer.

Copernicus Climate Change Service/ECMWF

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