Europe experienced the hottest summer on record in 2022 with several extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts and extensive wildfires, according to a report published by the Bonn-based Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).
Last year was also the second warmest ever recorded in Europe. Temperatures across the continent were rising twice as fast as the global average, “faster than on any other continent.”
Last year’s temperature increase was an “important climate indicator,” the report said. The average temperatures in Europe over the past five-year period were around 2.2 degrees Celsius above those of the pre-industrial era (1850-1900).
“The report highlights alarming changes to our climate,” Carlo Buontempo, director of C3S, said in a statement. “Understanding the climate dynamics in Europe is crucial for our efforts to adapt and mitigate the negative impacts climate change has on the continent.”
In response to the climate crisis, the European Union (EU) is aiming to become the first greenhouse gas neutral continent by 2050. As set out in the EU’s Green Deal, CO2 emissions are to be reduced by 55 percent compared to 1990s levels by the end of the decade.
One of the most significant weather events in Europe in 2022 was the widespread drought, the report found. The combination of little winter snow and high temperatures during summer also led to a “record loss of ice from glaciers in the Alps.”
The latest weather data suggest that the trend is not stopping. The first three months of 2023 were all warmer on average than the 1991-2020 climate average. “Warming is continuing,” a spokesperson of Germany’s National Meteorological Service (DWD) told Xinhua on Thursday.
According to the DWD’s seasonal forecasts, there would be “another warm summer, at least for Central Europe and the Mediterranean region, certainly again with some heat waves.”
The European Commission already warned of droughts in Southern and Western Europe in mid-March. Due to comparatively little snowfall in the Alps, snowmelt would be significantly lower this year.
“Impacts of the emerging drought are already visible in France, Spain and Northern Italy and raise concerns on water supply for human use, agriculture and energy production,” the Commission said in a statement. ■