Europe experiences warmest summer on record

11th January 2023

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Chris Seekings

Last summer was the warmest in Europe since records began in 1979, with several intense and prolonged heatwaves leading to problems in agriculture and the energy sector.

That is according to new data from the EU Copernicus Climate Change Service, which also shows that last year was the second-warmest ever recorded in Europe, surpassed only by 2020.

In addition, the EU agency’s findings reveal that extreme drought resulted in the highest emissions ever from wildfires in the EU and Britain last summer.

Commenting on the findings, IEMA CEO, Sarah Mukherjee MBE, said: “The record-breaking temperatures from last year are yet another reminder of the need to rapidly cut emissions globally and adapt to increasingly frequent extreme weather events.

"Floods, droughts and temperatures are all set to intensify across Europe and beyond over the coming decades, so it essential that policymakers focus on adaptation now to prevent widespread destruction and suffering in the future."

Globally, the world experienced its fifth-warmest year on record in 2022, according to the findings, surpassed only by 2016, 2020, 2019 and 2017.

The annual average temperature was 0.3°C above the reference period of 1991-2020, which equates to approximately 1.2°C higher than during the 1850-1900 period typically used as a proxy for the pre-industrial era.

This makes 2022 the eighth year in a row with temperatures more than 1°C above the pre-industrial level.

Meanwhile, working in conjunction with the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), the researchers also found that atmospheric greenhouse gases continued to increase in 2022.

Carbon dioxide concentrations rose by approximately 2.1 ppm (parts per million), while methane rose by around 12 (parts per billion). This resulted in an annual average for 2022 of approximately 417 ppm for carbon dioxide, and 1894 ppb for methane.

For both gases, this is the highest concentrations from the satellite record, and by including other records, the highest levels for over 2 million years for carbon dioxide, and over 800 000 years for methane.

CAMS director, Vincent-Henri Peuch, warned: “Greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, are the main drivers of climate change and we can see from our monitoring activities that atmospheric concentrations are continuing to rise each year with no signs of slowing.”

Image credit: Unsplash

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