Natural disasters of 2022, a short recap

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Grace Smith | December 29, 2022

Extreme weather and natural disasters have caused negative economic impacts and destruction around the world, costing billions of dollars in damage. The effect of climate change has been noticeable in 2022 through numerous natural disasters across the globe. 

The summer of 2022 was one of the hottest summers on record around the world and in the U.S. Houston, Texas experienced the hottest month of July on record with one day reaching over 103 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, 100 million Americans were under a heat advisory or warning in July. 

In addition to the U.S., Europe also encountered extreme heat and wildfires during the hot summer months. In just one week in July, wildfires swept across Greece, Spain, and Portugal. From January to November 2022, 1.9 million acres burned through Europe. Between July 10-19, Spain recorded 1,047 deaths linked to the record-breaking heat. 

In June, thousand-year floods closed Yellowstone National Park after intense rainfall caused mudslides and flooding throughout the park. The landslides caused bridges to collapse and damaged roads. Conditions were so bad that the park had to close for the first time since 1988. 

This year’s monsoon season heavily impacted Pakistan with heavy downpours that impacted the infrastructure and strained emergency services. Flooding washed away roads and bridges, making it nearly impossible for emergency personnel to travel to help people. As of October, millions of Pakistan citizens were displaced, two million homes were displaced, and 1,500 people reportedly died. 

Many activists and lawmakers are thinking about these natural disasters and others and considering the repair costs that come with the new normal in the world because of climate change.

Flooding in Montana closes Yellowstone National Park

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Grace Smith | June 15, 2022

Over 10,000 visitors evacuated Yellowstone National Park as floodwaters demolished houses, bridges, and roads at Yellowstone and in nearby communities. Over 3 inches of rain and 5.5 inches of melted snow from high temperatures caused mudslides, flooding, and the closure of the National Park for at least a week. The combination of rain and melted snow created a 14.5-foot rise in sections of the Yellowstone River. Superintendent of the park, Cam Sholly, said in a news conference on Tuesday the northern area of the park is likely to remain closed until October or November. 

Yellowstone and southern Montana are at a higher risk of flooding because of climate change. According to the Greater Yellowstone Climate Assessment, a scientific report on temperature and precipitation trends and projections, the Upper Yellowstone Watershed has increased in temperature by 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit since 1950. In addition, since 1950, springtime rain has increased by 20 percent while streamflow from rivers has increased between 30-80 percent.

There is more risk for Yellowstone National Park with a 7 percent increase in annual precipitation by mid-century and mean annual temperatures are projected to increase 5 degrees Fahrenheit by 2061-2080, under RCP4.5, a system and idea put in place to inform research.