Heatwaves and fires in summer 2022
NASA Earth Observatory originally published this story on July 15, 2022, with the title Heatwaves and Fires Scorch Europe, Africa, and Asia. Reprinted with permission. EarthSky editors made minor edits.
In June and July 2022, heatwaves struck Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, as temperatures climbed above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in places and broke many long-standing records. In Western Europe, which was already experiencing severe drought, the heatwave fueled fires that raged across Portugal, Spain, and parts of France.
Temperatures in Portugal reached 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) on July 13 in the town of Leiria, where more than 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) had burned. More than half of the country was on red alert as firefighters battled 14 active fires.
The record heat in Italy contributed to the July 3 collapse of a portion of the Marmolada Glacier in the Dolomites. The avalanche of snow, ice, and rock killed 11 hikers.
In the U.K.
The U.K. Met Office issued extreme heat or amber warnings as temperatures were expected to continue to climb, possibly breaking all-time highs.
In North Africa
Tunisia in North Africa has endured a heatwave and fires that have damaged the country’s grain crop. On July 13 in the capital city of Tunis, the temperature reached 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit), breaking a 40-year record.
Temperatures in Iran remained high in July after reaching a scorching 52 degrees Celsius (126 degrees Fahrenheit) in late June.
The summer has brought three heatwaves to China that have buckled roads, melted tar, and popped off roof tiles. The Shanghai Xujiahui Observatory, where records have been kept since 1873, recorded its highest temperature ever: 40.9 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit) on July 13, 2022. High humidity and dewpoints, along with warm overnight temperatures, created potentially deadly conditions.
NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using GEOS-5 data from the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA GSFC and VIIRS day-night band data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership. Story by Sara E. Pratt.
Bottom line: NASA Earth Observatory reports on heatwaves and fires in Europe, Africa and Asia in summer 2022.