Parts of China, Europe, Africa, and the US have experienced extremely high temperatures this summer. The drought that Europe has been going through this summer may be the worst the continent has seen in 500 years, according to the EU’s Copernicus environmental program. Over half of Europe was impacted by the “soil moisture deficit” at the height of the dry spell in late August. In the meantime, due to the extreme heat and severe lack of rainfall in the nation, China’s main river, the Yangtze, has shrunk. Based on official Chinese data, in August, the river’s drainage basin received 60% less rain than average. However, in July, the Chinese government issued eight drought advisories in addition to more than 13,000 heavy rain warnings.

The drought conditions in eastern Ethiopia, northern Kenya, and Somalia have prompted the UN to issue a warning that 22 million people may be in danger of starvation. A 2021 World Bank estimate showed that “relative to 1970-79, the numbers of droughts and floods were nearly threefold and tenfold, respectively, by 2010-19.” Drought conditions are becoming the norm in the western US as a result of years of drier and hotter weather. According to a survey issued in February, the past 20 years have experienced the worst drought conditions in the American West in 1,200 years. In addition, the dry, hot weather this summer caused forest fires in a number of states and decreased water storage levels.