Today is the autumn equinox, meaning the end of summer in the U.S. and the start of fall. In the past, we might look back on summer with longing, recalling days at the beach or desperately needed vacations. But this past summer was brutal. It seemed like one weather disaster after another – and some weeks, it was.

Millions of Americans sweated under heat domes. Tens of thousands endured flash floods that left long-lasting destruction in communities from Yellowstone to Appalachia. And the West is still struggling from a long-running drought that is drying up water supplies and fueling fires.

Shuang-Ye Wu, a climate scientist at the University of Dayton, explains the connections between weather extremes like these and worsening climate change. “This isn’t just a freak summer,” she writes. Without a serious effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions, “eventually, it will seem mild, like one of those ‘nice summers’ we look back on fondly with nostalgia.”

Also today:

Stacy Morford

Environment + Climate Editor

Much of the South and Southern Plains faced a dangerous heat wave in July 2022, with highs well over 100 degrees for several days. Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Looking back at America’s summer of heat, floods and climate change: Welcome to the new abnormal

Shuang-Ye Wu, University of Dayton

Millions of people around the world suffered through long-lasting heat waves and deadly flash flooding in the summer of 2022. A climate scientist explains the rising risks.

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