Sep 12, 2022 - Energy & Environment

In photos: A summer of drought and fire

Photography of a tree on fire.

Embers blow off a burning tree during the Fairview Fire near Hemet, Calif., on Sept. 6. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Wildfires, droughts, and extreme heat waves are raging through Europe, North America, South America, the Middle East and Asia as we head into the heat of fall.

The big picture: A heat wave and coinciding drought in China have no precedent in modern weather records, given the heat's severity and duration.

Alaska, Siberia and even London have all seen wildfires.

  • Severe droughts have also whiplashed into floods in the Southwest and Central U.S., with the dry soil leading to flash flooding, since it cannot absorb high levels of rainfall.
  • At least six 1,000-year rainstorms struck the U.S. within a month, from Dallas to Kentucky to Death Valley, Calif., causing deadly flash flooding.
  • Climate change studies have shown that hydrological extremes at both ends of the spectrum — heavy precipitation and drought — are likely to be more common and intense as the world warms.

Through the lens: These photos show the real life impact of increasing temperatures worldwide.

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