Study: Climate change contributed to global drought in 2022

The United Kingdom recorded its highest ever temperature on July 19. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/908b9c2786705719e4ba03f82d5a22ba/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The United Kingdom recorded its highest ever temperature on July 19. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Man-made climate change exasperated global drought, fires and heat waves in 2022, according to a study by scientists representing several academic institutions and climate watchdogs.

The study, released Wednesday by the World Weather Attribution initiative, focused heavily on the dry soils that had drastic economic and ecological consequences in the Northern Hemisphere.


One of the hottest European summers on record had far-reaching impacts on agriculture and food security and caused an increased risk of fire in 2022, the study found.

Scientists from France, India, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the United States collected data from across the world to assess if climate change was responsible for increased likelihood of low soil moisture.

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The study found that the dry soil conditions observed in 2022 were less likely to have occurred at the beginning of the 20th century. Data varied across the observed regions, but the overall observations led participants to conclude that increased temperatures from man-made climate change were the main factor contributing to global drought.

Data revealed that in west central Europe, climate change made the likelihood of root zone soil moisture drought three to four times more likely, and surface soil moisture about five to six times more likely.


In the Northern Hemisphere's non-tropical regions, man-made climate change was found to have increased the likelihood of root zone soil moisture drought by a factor of 20 and surface soil by a factor of five.

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The study concludes that the trend is likely to continue as global temperatures increase.

A study released last month by the United Nations' climate agency, the World Meteorological Association, found that greenhouse gas concentrations are continuing to rise to record high levels.

On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for action from world leaders ahead of next month's U.N. Climate Conference in Egypt, COP27.

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"A third of Pakistan flooded. Europe's hottest summer in 500 years. The Philippines hammered. The whole of Cuba in black-out," he said. "And here, in the United States, Hurricane Ian has delivered a brutal reminder that no country and no economy is immune from climate crisis."

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