Last summer was the warmest ever recorded in Europe, according to evaluations by the EU climate change service Copernicus.
The year 2022 was the second warmest in Europe since records began in 1979, according to a Copernicus report on climate extremes presented Tuesday. The annual temperatures were surpassed only by 2020.
Heat waves and lack of rain
In many places in Europe, heat waves combined with little rain and dry soils caused droughts, according to the report, leading to problems in agriculture, shipping and the energy industry. In addition, the extreme drought increased the risk of wildfires – according to estimates, the summer saw the highest emissions from wildfires in the EU and UK in the last 15 years.
“2022 was another year of climate extremes in Europe and globally. These events make it clear that we are already feeling the devastating consequences of our warming world,” the service’s deputy director, Samantha Burgess, held. She said emissions must be reduced urgently to avoid the worst consequences, and society must also adapt to the changing climate.
From its measurements and estimates, the EU service also deduces that temperatures in Europe have risen more than twice as much as the global average over the past 30 years and that Europe is warming the most of any continent.
Globally, according to Copernicus, 2022 was the fifth warmest year on record, and the past eight years have been the warmest. On average, last year was 0.3 degrees warmer than the Copernicus reference period of 1991 to 2020, which translates to about 1.2 degrees of global warming compared to the pre-industrial era.
The international community wants to stop global warming at a maximum of 1.5 degrees to prevent climate change’s most catastrophic consequences. However, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere did not decrease last year – on the contrary. The concentration of both carbon dioxide and methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas, rose: to an annual average of 417 ppm (parts per million – particles of CO2 per million particles) for carbon dioxide and 1894 ppb (parts per billion – particles of methane per billion particles) for methane. According to Copernicus, these are the highest values for both gases since records began. If other measurements are included, they are even the most elevated for hundreds of thousands of years.
“Greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, are the main drivers of climate change, and our measurements show that atmospheric concentrations continue to rise, with no sign of slowing down in the process,” said Vincent-Henri Peuch, who heads the Copernicus monitoring service.
Copernicus’s records go back to 1979. The climate change service also uses data from ground stations, balloons, aircraft and satellites back to 1950. Monthly, computer analysis is used to publish data on temperatures, sea ice cover and other aspects.
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