July 2022 third-hottest on record, with extreme heat to become more common 

July 2022 third-hottest on record, with extreme heat to become more common 

High temperatures could lead to disruptions in sectors like agriculture. Picture: Denis Boyle

Last month was the third-hottest July ever recorded, with record-breaking temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere and dryer than average conditions in much of Europe just a taste of what is to come.

That is according to data from the EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), which added that the globe was close to 0.4C above the 30-year 1991-2020 period, marginally cooler than July 2019 and marginally warmer than July 2016.

C3S, which monitors weather patterns in the context of climate change for the European Commission, makes its findings from computer-generated analyses using billions of measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations around the world.

Senior scientist for the C3S, Freja Vamborg, said: "We can expect to continue seeing more frequent and longer periods of extremely high temperatures, as global temperatures increase further. 

Heatwaves pose serious risks to human health, and they can increase the intensity and longevity of many other disastrous climate events including wildfires and droughts, affecting both society and natural ecosystems."

The high temperatures could lead to disruption in agriculture and other industry, she warned.

"Additionally, dry conditions from previous months combined with high temperatures and low precipitation rates seen in many areas during July may have adverse effects on agricultural production and other industries such as river transport and energy production.”

Ms Vamborg previously told the Irish Examiner that temperatures of 50C in Europe are now inevitable because of global warming, after Sicily saw a record 48.8C in 2021.

"48.8C is not that far away from 50C, and the 48.8C was already 0.8C warmer than the previous European record. I won’t give a timeframe, but, for sure, this is not going to be the last temperature record we’ve seen in Europe," she said in April.

The prolonged dry weather exacerbated the likes of wildfires across the world, according to C3S.

"July 2022 was drier than average for much of Europe, with local low precipitation records broken in the west and drought in several locations of the southwest and southeast.

"These conditions affected the economy locally and facilitated spread and intensification of wildfires. 

"It was also drier than average in much of North America, large regions of South America, Central Asia, and Australia," it said.

Europe's heatwave was balanced out globally by below-average temperatures along the western Indian Ocean, from the Horn of Africa to southern India, over much of central Asia, as well as over most of Australia, according to C3S.

Overall, it was the joint sixth-warmest July recorded for Europe, according to the findings.

The data also shows that Antarctic sea ice extent reached its lowest value for July in the 44-year satellite data record, at 7% below average.

Sea ice extent describes the total area covered by some amount of ice.

Met Éireann has warned that Ireland is set to experience high temperatures this week. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos
Met Éireann has warned that Ireland is set to experience high temperatures this week. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

At the opposite end of the globe, Arctic sea ice extent was 4% below average, ranking 12th lowest for July in the satellite record, and well above the low July values seen in 2019 to 2021, C3S said.

The data comes as Met Éireann warns Irish people to take care during the forthcoming hot spell that will last from midweek until at least the weekend. 

Daytime temperatures will widely reach the mid to high 20s, while it will be "uncomfortably warm overnight too", Met Éireann said.

The high temperatures will mean heat stress, especially for the more vulnerable of the population; a high solar UV index, and the risk of water-related incidents, it warned.

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