Well, it’s official: last month was one of the hottest Julys ever documented – although climate change is set to ensure that even warmer Julys are still yet to come.
Globally speaking, 2022 saw one of the three hottest Julys on record, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service.
Worldwide – including the southern hemisphere, which is currently in winter – July 2022 was 0.38°C (0.68°F) warmer than the 1991-2020 average for July. This is primarily driven by the summer heatwaves that baked significant parts of Western Europe and the US. In Europe, for instance, the month was 0.72°C (1.29°F) above the 1991-2020 average.
With a monthly average temperature of 24.68°C (76.42°F), July 2022 was the third hottest for any month on record in the US, just behind July 1936 and July 2012, according to the NOAA’s latest monthly climate report.
Texas has really felt the burn recently, reporting its hottest July, May-July, and April-July on record, according to the NOAA report. Near-record heat was also seen in July across the Pacific Northwest, the south-central US, and the Northeast. Oregon had its fourth-hottest July on record, while Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island endured their fifth-hottest Julys on record.
On top of all this, last month also saw the warmest nights ever documented in the US.
The UK also saw temperatures rise above 40°C (104°F) for the first time, with a record-smashing temperature of 40.3°C (104.53°F) being clocked in eastern England on July 19.
The sizzling weather was especially unpleasant in the UK because the country’s infrastructure is designed for overcast skies and mild drizzly; relatively few properties have air-conditioning and structures are built to retain heat. As a testament to the pain felt by many Brits, sales of electric fans in mid-July were reportedly up 1,300 percent from the previous week.
Hot days have their sunny upsides, but this searingly warm weather comes at a huge cost. Excess deaths surged as the heatwaves burnt through Europe, with initial data suggesting thousands more people died during the hot weather in July.
Wildfires have also burned through 600,731 hectares (1,484,438 acres) of land in EU countries this year so far. That’s the second-largest area on record, even though it's just halfway through the typical fire season.
All of this is inseparable from the wider climate crisis that’s currently engulfing our planet. The World Weather Attribution service estimates that climate change made the UK’s heatwave 4°C (7.2°F) hotter and at least 10 times more likely than it would have been in pre-industrial times.
It may have been a freakishly hot July in 2022, but it almost certainly won't be the hottest you'll see in your lifetime.