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
IMAGO / Xinhua | Photo taken from a helicopter shows the aerial view of flood-hit Jafarabad district in Pakistan. 3 September, 2022.
IMAGO/NurPhoto
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
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
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 2022 impressions worldwide.

IMAGO/ZUMA Wire
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
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
IMAGO / NurPhoto | Erosion In India – part of a house that collapsed due to erosion along the Brahmaputra River. 16 October, 2022.
IMAGO/NurPhoto
IMAGO / NurPhoto | A forest fire in Sierra Arana, Spain. 15 October, 2022.
IMAGO/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire | Shop destroyed by the flood in Cantiano, Italy. 30 September, 2022.
IMAGO/ZUMA Wire
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
IMAGO / Xinhua | Hemet, Riverside County, California. 6 September, 2022.
IMAGO/ZUMA Wire
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
IMAGO / USA TODAY Network | Hurricane Ian damage in Bonita Springs, Florida. 29 September, 2022.
IMAGO/Pixsell
IMAGO / Pixsell | Flooded street of Rijeka, Croatia. 28 September, 2022.
IMAGO/Fotoarena
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
IMAGO / Fotoarena | Floods in Manaus, Brazil - Amazon. 12 May, 2022.
IMAGO/NTB
IMAGO / NTB | Heavy rain Kristiansand, Norway. 28 August, 2022.
IMAGO/ZUMA Wire
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
IMAGO / AAP | Residents in flood-affected NSW, Australia. 6 November, 2022.
IMAGO/Panthermedia
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
IMAGO / Zuma Wire | Floods on the western coast of Java, Indonesia. 7 November, 2022.
IMAGO/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire | Burning peat-land in Riau Province. Kampar, Indonesia. 2 April, 2022.
IMAGO/NurPhoto
IMAGO / NurPhoto | Forest fires in South Sumatra, Indonesia. 28 June, 2022.
Article and image selection by Sofia Bergmann