Weather: heat wave, drought, violent storms… Is summer 2022 the new normal?

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“The summer of 2022 is probably the coolest you’re going to experience in the next 20 years.” Invited in the morning of France Inter, the Minister of Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher did not mince words to alert on the energy situation.

If she says that “the experts are very clear on the subject”, this statement has still been debated in the scientific community. Between heat wave, drought and storm, the summer of 2022 had its share of records and disturbances but is it possible to say that it is representative of all the summers to come?

What is certain is that this summer, which is soon coming to an end, is the second hottest observed in France since at least 1900, reports Météo France in its summary. At the head of the podium we find the summer of 2003. But for Anthony Grillon, meteorologist and founder of the Météo Contact site, the temperature difference was not so significant. “With an additional heat wave, the temperatures of the summer of 2022 could have equalized those of 2003,” he said.

Indeed, since mid-May, temperatures have been almost constantly above normal for the season and there have been many heat peaks and heat waves. “Over the period from June 1 to August 31, there was an anomaly of 2.2°C compared to normal”, underlines the expert.

Thus, over these three months, the average temperature is 22.66°C. For comparison, in 2003 it was 23.18°C. another important element that differentiates these two summers of extreme heat is the recurrence of waves. “This year, there were more heat waves than in 2003. The recurrence is staggering. The year 2003 was marked by a particularly significant and long-lasting heat wave. Conversely, this year, We’ve had at least one heat spike a month since May.”

But in addition to the heat, what marked this summer was also the drought and the record storms that hit France.

The summer of 2022 was not only marked by its high temperatures. Meteorological phenomena have multiplied, leading to significant consequences such as fires or devastating hailstorms.

“The month of June 2022 was very stormy. Since 1989, there have never been so many thunderstorms and lightning strikes during the month of June. These levels are very impressive,” notes Anthony Grillon.

Throughout the summer, “we had a lot of fluctuations in rainfall,” says the expert. After an already too dry spring, the drought quickly accelerated, with the exception of June. Will this summer be the coolest of the rest of your life?

Thus, this summer was marked by a certain number of records whether in terms of heat, drought or storms. But what does this mean for the future?

For our weather expert, “to say that all summers will be similar to that of 2022, in the immediate future, is not true.” According to him, we will have to wait a few more years. “These summers will become a norm after 2050. However, according to the scenarios of scientists and what we have seen for decades, these phenomena will become more and more frequent and intense. It will work in cycles”, he continues.

He explains that climatic fluctuations are part of the climate everywhere in the world. But in 30 years, “summers like this year will occur much more frequently, with longer and more intense heat waves.”, warns the forecaster.