2020 was the hottest year ever in Europe

Last year was Europe’s warmest on record by a large margin, the latest in an annual series of Global Climate Reports.

The average temperature in Europe in 2020 was 1.9°C above the long-term average for 1981-2010, the 31st status report of the climate report published online by the American Meteorological Society.

Parts of the continent, including Luxembourg, Sweden, Finland and European Russia, have experienced temperatures 2°C or more above average in recent decades.

Although parts of northwest Europe have been relatively cooler, the UK is still experiencing its third hottest year on record in 2020, after 2014 and 2006, with temperatures 0.78°C above the 1981-2010 baseline. .

The report shows that the average surface temperature over the Arctic’s land areas was the highest since data records began in 1900.

Last year was also the seventh year in a row that annual temperatures in the Arctic were 1°C above average for the period 1981-2010.

While about 70 monitoring gauges across Europe showed record totals of one-day rainfall, there were record-lower-than-normal maximums, particularly over southern Europe, with lower clouds and severe to severe drought spreading over the region.

Globally, temperatures in 2020 were 0.6°C above the 30-year average from 1981, despite the temporary cooling effect of the Pacific La Nina weather phenomenon.

The report confirmed that last year was one of the warmest on records dating back to 1850.


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The State of the Climate report follows a review by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) earlier this month, which said the global temperature in 2020 was about 1.1°C above 19th century levels.

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She said humans are unequivocally driving global warming, and the effects are already being felt, with more extreme heat waves, rain and floods, and rising sea levels, and it will only get worse without action to limit rising temperatures.

The latest report highlights how Covid-19 measures such as lockdowns and travel restrictions can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 6-7% during 2020, with greenhouse gas concentrations reaching record levels.

It also said that only 16% of the ocean surface did not experience a marine heat wave in 2020, and a record temperature rise was recorded in Antarctica at 18.3 degrees Celsius, and temporarily in the Arctic Circle at 38 degrees Celsius.

Dr Robert Dunn of the UK Met Office, lead editor of the Global Climate chapter on The State of Climate, said: ‘This report adds to all the other evidence that human-induced climate change is affecting every part of the world, but not all regions are experiencing the same change. the average.

“The Arctic continues to warm faster than at lower latitudes, but the average annual temperature in Europe is also increasing very rapidly, with the five highest annual temperatures occurring since 2014.”

Dr Kate Willett, co-editor of the report’s global climate chapter, said it has become quite evident historically that unusual values ​​of humidity, drought, extreme precipitation and temperatures are the new normal.

“This report closely follows the latest IPCC report which cannot be clearer in its message – our climate has changed and will likely continue to change unless the main driver, greenhouse gases, is curbed, and what we are seeing now is already stressing our community. and our environment.”

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