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Earth just experienced its 6th-warmest August on record

The summer of 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere was the second warmest summer on record. Photo: iStock The summer of 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere was the second warmest summer on record. Photo: iStock

Earth witnessed its sixth-warmest August in 143 years, according to the scientists from the United States’ weather forecaster National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The temperature records for summer this year are among the hottest on record. Epic heatwaves, severe drought and torrential rains characterise this season, noted NOAA.

The global surface temperature for August this year was 0.90 degrees Celcius above the 20th-century average of 15.6°C. The past month marked the 46th consecutive August with mercury levels above the 20th-century average.

The warmest August on record was experienced in both North America and Europe. Asia had its fourth-warmest August on record. August temperatures in South America, Africa and Oceania were above average, but they weren’t among the top ten warmest on record.

Most of North America, Europe, southern and southeastern Asia and portions of northern Africa, northern South America, the Arabian Peninsula, western Asia and northern Oceania experienced above-average temperatures. August temperatures broke records in parts of the northwest United States, southwestern Canada, Spain, Italy, China, southeast Asia and New Zealand.

In large portions of the Gulf of Mexico, the northern, western and southwestern Pacific and the northern and southern Atlantic oceans, sea surface temperatures were above average.

A map of the world plotted with some of the most significant climate events that occurred during August 2022. Credits: NOAA

Most of South America and areas of central Asia experienced cooler-than-average temperatures. Sea surface temperatures were below average over a large portion of the southern, central and eastern tropical Pacific, which is consistent with La Nia.

The meteorological summer and winter of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, respectively, occur between June and August.

The summer of 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere was the second-warmest summer on record, with 1.15°C above average. The summer of 2020 was warmer by only 0.03°C. The Southern Hemisphere, meanwhile, experienced its tenth hottest winter on record.

Europe saw its warmest summer in the continent’s 113-year record. Africa experienced its 11th warmest June-August on record, while Asia and North America experienced their second warmest June-August on record. Although the June-August temperatures in South America and Oceania were above average, they did not place among the top ten on record.

A fifth consecutive failed rainy season, accompanied by severe drought, is expected to deepen the famine faced by millions of people in the Greater Horn of Africa, stated a report by the World Meteorological Organization.

Antarctica set a record low sea ice extent for the third consecutive month. The Antarctic sea ice extent in August 2022 was 6.55 million square miles, or roughly 290,000 square miles less than average.

Around the world, there were nine named storms in August. Four of these, including Super Typhoon Hinnamnor, the first Category 5 tropical cyclone of 2022, attained tropical cyclone status.

Only three Augusts since 1950 have gone without a designated tropical storm in the Atlantic and August 2022 was one among them. Only two earlier Augusts ended with no activity in the Atlantic, in 1961 and 1997. 

The past month marks only the seventh year since 1950 for having no hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean through August 31.

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