Retro 2022: 14 significant weather events of the year around the world

This year, 2022 will see fewer costly weather disasters than 2021, according to reinsurer Swiss Ré, but there have been more “secondary” disasters such as floods in Australia and winter storms in Europe. Hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean were less numerous and above all less severe than expected. For the second year in a row, Australia has been spared major fires despite torrential rains causing record flooding. Similarly, North America has been spared extraordinary fires and major heat waves. This year, it is the Asian continent that has suffered from deadly heat waves, especially India and Pakistan. To a lesser extent, Europe experienced its warmest summer since records began, including France.

These are the main events that we have selected for this year 2022 and which you will find in our video presented by our meteorologist Régis Crépet.

January 28: “Kanaan” snow storm in the USA

At the end of January, the hurricane “Kanaan” hit the northeastern United States and the maritime provinces of Quebec. As it does every winter, it was a sharply deepening trough rising along the eastern coast. Described as a “weather bomb,” the storm brought 2 feet (60 cm) of snow to the Boston area, the heaviest blizzard since 2014. It is associated with snow storms and cold seasons the jet stream is fluctuating.

January 15: Tonga volcano erupts (Fiji)

This non-meteorological phenomenon can affect the climate according to its strength. The Tonga volcano, which has been erupting since December 2021, experienced a paroxysmal explosion on January 15. The shock wave circled the planet, detected by barometers with a small burst of atmospheric pressure. Ash clouds and especially water vapor rose to 57 km higher than the stratosphere. It would be the most violent but very short-lived volcanic eruption in modern times. Thus, it could not affect the climate by cooling it as it had in the past. On the contrary, by spewing large amounts of water vapor into the atmosphere, this volcano could have contributed to slightly more global warming in 2022.

January 24: Exceptional snow fell in Greece, Turkey and Jerusalem

A stall of polar air has caused cold from Greece to the Middle East. If this happens every winter, this event was the most intense since 1968, with 20-40 cm and temperatures down to -14°C in Athens. Millions of people were left without electricity. The snow that fell to the Aegean islands and Turkey also reached Lebanon and Israel, turning Jerusalem white with 7 cm of dust.

February 4: Cyclone BATSIRAI in Réunion and Madagascar

The hurricane season in the Indian Ocean is fairly close to normal but highly concentrated over two and a half months (January-March). Many tropical events have hit Madagascar repeatedly, and it is paying a heavy price. In this context, BATSIRAI cyclone was the most severe in category 4/5. It first hit the island of Réunion with torrential rains described as exceptional (1,500 mm at Piton de la Fournaise), then Madagascar, destroying the town of Mananjari with 235 km/h winds and dramatic flooding. The death toll is heavy with 122 victims.

February 18: Hurricane Eunice in Europe

Several very deep troughs are circling over Great Britain and the countries bordering the North Sea. Storm Eunice is the most violent of the series. It mainly affects England and Germany, causing serious damage. This is the strongest storm for these countries in the last 2 years. On the Isle of Wight on the south coast of England, speeds of up to 196 km per hour (absolute record) are possible. In Germany, the wind speed reaches 160 km/h, and in Belgium it reaches 150 km/h. In total, the loss of life is heavy with 13 victims.

From March to November: Australia’s historic floods

Australia’s east coast has had a lot of rain this year, with particularly devastating floods in March, October and November. In March, floods killed more than 20 people. The city of Sydney itself was partially submerged and is experiencing its wettest year since records began in 1858. Annual rainfall is expected to be around 2300 mm, breaking the record of 2194 mm (in 1950). The climate in Sydney is very rainy, with an annual average of 995 mm. The La Nina phenomenon explains this historically wet year after 2021 was already subject to flooding for the same reason. La Nina is an easterly wind pattern that pushes warm waters and disturbances from the Pacific Ocean towards the east coast of Australia.

From February to May: sirocco and Sahara sands

Last winter and spring were characterized by the recurrence of southerly flows from the Sahara towards Western Europe. As a result, large amounts of sand were lifted by the winds, and yellowish clouds spread as far as Spain and France. Several times the cities of the Maghreb and Spain were engulfed in these sand mists, and the mountain snows were painted orange-brown.

May and June: Heat wave in India

India and neighboring Pakistan suffered 2 months of interminable and deadly heat wave, mainly in April and May. From the beginning of April, the daily temperature reaches 40-43°C in the northwestern part of India and Pakistan. This April is India’s hottest month in 122 years. Temperatures peak at 51°C in May, which is statistically the hottest month of the year before the onset of the wet monsoon. These values ​​are normal for this time of the year and definitely not breaking heat records. However, the early onset (starting in March) and duration of this heat wave make it one of the most severe for these regions of the world.

May 20: Tornadoes in Germany and the Netherlands

Tornadoes are not uncommon in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands and Germany, where the continental climate is conducive to violent air mass confrontation. The weather in May was very unstable with the passage of numerous cold fronts and thunderstorm generators. The temperature contrast was then very significant between the coast of the North Sea (13°C) and southern Germany (34°C). May 20 was an apocalyptic day with the formation of hailstorms accompanied by tornadoes, the most powerful of which, an EF3 on the 5 scale, devastated the town of Padeborn. It is severe, with one dead, dozens injured and significant property damage (roofs, windows and cars destroyed).

From May to August: Heat waves in Europe

2022 is Europe’s hottest summer since records began. The heat wave that hit Europe in August 2003 was more intense, but it took longer to repeat the heat waves starting in May this year. Heat waves rose from the Maghreb to France and bordering countries, while in 2021 heat waves mainly affected the Mediterranean basin. France is also the country most affected by heat waves in the summer of 2022. At the same time, a large part of Western Europe had a particularly dry summer after an already rainless winter, especially for France, Spain and other countries. Maghreb. As a result, forest fires hit the Iberian Peninsula and Algeria in addition to France.

July and August: Floods in Pakistan

After a scorching dry monsoon in April and May, this year’s wet monsoon is proving to be of rare intensity in Pakistan, which has paid a heavy price for climate disasters. In June-August, torrential rains continue without interruption. The wettest July precipitation since 1961 is twice the average. Floods inundate a third of the country and 1.8 million hectares of agricultural land. They are comparable to 2010. The number of dead is very heavy, at least 1700 dead. The extreme warming of April and May increased the monsoon rains, possibly causing depressions over the Arabian Sea.

September 28: Hurricane IAN in Florida

Although the 2022 hurricane season was within average for the North Atlantic, with 8 hurricanes, including 2 major ones (Fiona and Ian), Hurricane Ian was the most destructive this year, especially for Florida. He is one of the strongest to hit this state in the 4/5 category. The eye made landfall in Naples and caused a huge surge with devastating sea floods. The city of Fort Myers was particularly inundated by the storm surge, with about 2 feet of water. The balance is very heavy. At least 148 people died, and the damage was estimated at more than 67 billion dollars.

November 18: Snow storm in Buffalo (USA).

Early cold weather hit the US in late November. Freezing air from Canada moved over the American Great Lakes. It’s ” lake effect effective, resulting in 3 days of non-stop snow in some areas, notably Buffalo, on the Lake Erie shore. The amount of snow was on record for this time of year, making it the heaviest snowstorm since 2014. A depth of 130 cm was recorded in the region. With 55 cm measured on the ground (excluding snowdrifts), the city of Buffalo does not exceed the November record (63 cm from November 2000). Similarly, the record for absolute snow depth in these regions has not been broken since December 10, 1995, with 86 cm measured on the ground in Buffalo.

Christmas weekend: Exceptionally cold in North America

This big event happened after we made our video, but it’s worth mentioning here. All of North America, especially the US, experienced exceptionally cold weather for the Christmas weekend. In addition to the record-breaking cold, which was accompanied by frost up to the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the blizzard paralyzed the central and northeastern United States. This winter storm killed more than 50 people. Temperatures in Denver (Colorado) dropped to -31°C and Houston (Texas) to -9°C. It was the coldest December since 1990.

Interim assessment: Is 2022 in top 5 warmest year despite Nina?

Since the super El Nino event of 2016 (2016 is the warmest year on record), which led to a global warming peak, the climate has not warmed more on the planet. Global temperatures have been affected by La Nina, which has cooled the waters of the Pacific Ocean for the past 3 years, keeping global warming at bay. La Nina has a temporary cooling effect on global warming. However, Nina is expected to end in 2023, with the possible occurrence of a weak El Niño episode (cyclical warming of Pacific Ocean waters) during the year. The effects would only occur in late 2023 or even 2024, but according to the MetOffice, the cessation of Nina could cause planetary temperatures to rise again in 2023, a warmer year than 2022. will be

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