Not Just Polar Bears: The Impacts of Climate Change in 2022

Photographers documenting the impacts of climate change in 2022 reveal the issue not only as a threat to the environment, but also to billions of people worldwide.

The Impacts of Climate Change in 2022

The realities are setting in year after year, especially in regions where the impacts of climate change on extreme weather are creeping up and impacting people from all walks of life. In many places from Greece and Italy, to Indonesia, Brazil and Australia where both floods and wildfires are causing people to lose their homes and ravaging entire cities, solutions for how to prevent and prepare for natural disasters in the future seem more urgent than ever.

In India and Pakistan, record-breaking heat waves were also followed by monsoon flooding, putting about one third of Pakistan under water and impacting over 30 million people. The United States had to not only deal with the devastating effects of Hurricane Ian, but also saw unprecedented low levels in the Colorado River reservoirs, while floods hit Death Valley in California’s Mojave Desert – the country’s  lowest point of elevation.

IMAGO / Xinhua | Photo taken from a helicopter shows the aerial view of flood-hit Jafarabad district in Pakistan. 3 September, 2022.
IMAGO / NurPhoto | Firefighters confront blazes during a forest fire that broke at the suburb of Pallini, east of Athens, Greece. 20 July, 2022.
IMAGO / ANE Edition | Damage from floods in Crete, Greece. 16 October, 2022.

While the links to rising temperatures through greenhouse gas emissions and extreme weather have been made clear by scientists, the UN Climate Conference COP27 hosted in Egypt last month revealed just how crucial dealing with climate change is when it comes to its impacts on human beings: The Loss and Damage fund signed after debates went on two days later than planned, is meant to provide relief for the billions of people living in areas impacted by climate change, namely the Global South. While discussions surrounding global warming and how to approach it come from all angles from economy, technology, politics to human rights, photography is the ultimate tool for addressing issues that in cases like climate change, sometimes need to be seen to be believed.
imago images/Ritzau Scanpix

IMAGO / Ritzau Scanpix | Floods in Tingvejen, Denmark. 21 February, 2022.
IMAGO / NurPhoto | Flooding In Colombo, Sri Lanka. 15 October, 2022.

The power of photography lies in its ability to tell the truth and document what is happening thousands of kilometers away. When we speak about climate change, it is often the imagery that comes to mind first and foremost, providing a form of photographic evidence and highlighting different aspects through visual communication.

IMAGO’s database is a constant witness to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather on people in cities across the globe – from floods and droughts, to hurricanes and wildfires. In a year where the looming risks of climate change have been ever present through countless extreme weather events, take a look at some that stood out to us the most.

See IMAGO’s curated collection: Climate Change in 2022,pressions Worldwide.

IMAGO / Zuma Wire | Pont de Vilomara, Barcelona, Spain: A River Park resident checks out the damage after the fire. 19 July, 2022.
imago images/Joerg Boethling
IMAGO / Joerg Boethling | Flooding after a storm in Hamburg, Germany. 30 January, 2022.
IMAGO / blickwinkel | Arable land with drying cracks, Germany, Bavaria. 30 October, 2022.

imago images/ANP
IMAGO / ANP | Flooding in the Queen Wilhelminahaven in Vlaardingen, Netherlands. 31 January, 2022.
IMAGO / NurPhoto | Erosion In India – part of a house that collapsed due to erosion along the Brahmaputra River. 16 October, 2022.
IMAGO / NurPhoto | A forest fire in Sierra Arana, Spain. 15 October, 2022.
IMAGO / Zuma Wire | Shop destroyed by the flood in Cantiano, Italy. 30 September, 2022.
IMAGO / Zuma Wire | Wildfires in Doberdo del Lago, Italy. 20 July, 2022.
IMAGO/Kai Koehler
IMAGO / Kai Koehler | Flood on St. Marks Square in Venice in Italy. 28 September, 2022.
IMAGO / Xinhua | Hemet, Riverside County, California. 6 September, 2022.
IMAGO / Zuma Wire | Residents of the community were issued a voluntary evacuation order due to rising water levels in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. St. Cloud, Florida. 4 October, 2022.
IMAGO / USA TODAY Network | Hurricane Ian damage in Bonita Springs, Florida. 29 September, 2022.
IMAGO / Pixsell | Flooded street of Rijeka, Croatia. 28 September, 2022.
IMAGO / Fotoarena | More than 2700 km away from the Amazon, the city of Ponta Grossa, in Paraná, had the sky covered by smoke from fires in the Amazon rainforest. 10 September, 2022.
IMAGO / Fotoarena | Floods in Manaus, Brazil – Amazon. 12 May, 2022.
IMAGO / NTB | Heavy rain Kristiansand, Norway. 28 August, 2022.
IMAGO / Zuma Wire | Wildfires in California. 26 July, 2022.
IMAGO/Penta Press
IMAGO / Penta Press | Floods in Seongnam, South Korea. 10 August, 2022.
IMAGO / AAP | Residents in flood-affected NSW, Australia. 6 November, 2022.
IMAGO / Panthermedia | A fire burning on the South Coast of NSW, Australia. 4 August, 2022.
imago images/Future Image
IMAGO / Future Image | Floods in Cologne, Germany. 7 January, 2022.
IMAGO/Martin Wagner
IMAGO / Martin Wagner | Dead trees from drought in the Harz National Park in Lower Saxony, Germany. 25 October, 2022.
IMAGO / Zuma Wire | Floods on the western coast of Java, Indonesia. 7 November, 2022.
IMAGO / Zuma Wire | Burning peat-land in Riau Province. Kampar, Indonesia. 2 April, 2022. | The Impacts of Climate Change in 2022 by The Game Magazine
IMAGO / NurPhoto | Forest fires in South Sumatra, Indonesia. 28 June, 2022.

Other previous articles on climate change include:

COP27 and the year of climate promises.

Germany’s new normal: climate, politics and the 2021 flood disaster.

After the scorch. Interview with Dominika Zarzycka. 

Article and image selection by Sofia Bergmann