The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicked off this week, and the United States Men’s Soccer team takes on England Thursday—but climate change may have a hand in this year’s games.
The games typically occur in June and July, but the World Cup in Qatar was pushed five months later – to November – the cooler season. In 2015, five years after Qatar won the bid, The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) announced the decision to play in winter months because it wasn’t safe for players during its summer.
The country is home to some of the globe’s hottest temperatures during the summer. An average July temperature is 98°F, and August is 100°. With humidity in the 60s, playing in these conditions would lead to heat exhaustion and heat stress for athletes, venue workers, and wouldn’t be any easier for the estimated 1.2 million fans expected to visit the host country during the tournament.
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Since the host site was announced in December 2010, Qatar’s average annual temperature has risen by 1.1°.
When the host site was announced in December 2010, its annual average temperature was 83.9°F (28.85°C). Nearly 12 years later, that temperature is now 85°F (29.42°C).
The desert climate has average temperatures in November and December ranging between 70°F-76°F. Doha is in a subtropical zone, with low rain hot and humid summers and mild winters. As the games kicked off on Sunday, high temperatures were at 84°F. Lows that day were 75°F.
While well-below summer averages, the brutal heat was exacerbated by humidity was high, with dewpoints in the upper 60s.
These periods of extreme heat are becoming more frequent in part due to climate change.
According to the Climate Shift Index, Sunday’s high temperatures across the Middle East were made likely because of Climate Change.
There aren’t indoor stadiums at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but the host site spent billions building seven-air conditioned, open-air stadiums. Tournament organizers say the quasi-climate controlled environment will bring temperatures to near 68°, despite outdoor conditions.
Football Frequency: The World Cup is held every four years, and host sites are announced by FIFA. The 2026 World Cup, hosted by North America, will include cities across Canada, Mexico and the United States. Host cities in the US include Boston, Dallas, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, New York/New Jersey, Seattle & San Francisco.
Where to watch the 2022 FIFA World Cup
The games will be broadcast on FOX and FOX Sports in English and Telemundo in Spanish.