Fact Check: Was Last Month The Hottest July In History?

On July 13, 2022, the temperature in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia reached 118 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius), its highest in 40 years. The heatwave and fires reportedly damaged the country’s grain crop, reducing crop harvest to about 1.4million metric tons instead of the predicted 1.8 million metric tons.

Large parts of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya also suffered severe drought in July, with an estimated 16.7 million people reportedly facing acute food insecurity.

New reports have now shown that the July heatwave was not exclusive to Africa, some parts of the globe experienced one of the warmest Julys in history. In June and July, heatwaves struck Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia as temperatures climbed above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) in places, breaking many long-standing records.

In Western Europe, the heatwave fueled fires that raged across Spain, Portugal, and parts of France.  Portugal‘s temperatures soared to 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) on July 13 in the town of Leiria, where more than 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) got burned.

In Italy, the record heat contributed to the collapse of a portion of the Marmolada Glacier in the Dolomites on July 3, while the U.K. government issued extreme heat warnings as temperatures were expected to continue to climb, possibly breaking record highs.

In Iran, temperatures remained high in July after reaching a scorching 52 degrees Celsius (126 degrees Fahrenheit) in late June, while summer in China reportedly brought three heatwaves melted tar, buckled roads, and popped off roof tiles.

The Shanghai Xujiahui Observatory, where records have been kept since 1873, recorded its highest temperature ever: 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.9 degrees Celsius) on July 13, 2022.

Fortunately, despite the stifling records in some parts of the world, July did not break a global heat record since other areas, along the western Indian Ocean and much of central Asia and Australia, saw below-average temperatures, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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