Up to 30 degrees: Summer knocks on the door in April

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The year 2024 is still young, and yet the apricot trees in the Wachau are already in full bloom, and walkers enjoyed the sun in short-sleeved shirts last weekend.

No wonder, as February and March were the warmest months in the country since records began. On Easter Monday, the temperature climbed to 28.5 degrees in Vienna.

After a short cold front on Tuesday, temperatures of 24 to 29 degrees are even forecast for the coming April weekend. On the northern side of the Alps, from Tyrol to the Mostviertel, 30 degrees is also possible.

Record in April 1934
“That would break the record that has stood for 90 years,” explains weather expert Konstantin Brandes from Ubimet. Back then, on 17 April 1934, 30 degrees were also measured in Salzburg.

However, the joy of the sunny weather is overshadowed by the causes of the increasingly frequent temperature superlatives. In addition to heat currents, which are quite common for the time of year, the fact that climate change is clearly making itself felt cannot be ignored.

Although there have always been summer days in March or April, “the fact that it’s already 30 degrees so early is absolutely unusual,” says the expert.

Why is it getting so hot?
The previous record was set in 1934, but high temperatures have become more frequent in recent history. Records have all been measured in the last 15 years. In 2016, 2017, and 2021, the 25-degree mark was also broken in March. There was a hot day—i.e., more than 30 degrees—in spring on 28 April 2012 and also at the end of April 2018.
“But this weekend would also beat the 30-degree record set in 1934 by ten days,” says Brandes. If the rest of April remains this warm this year, it could become an “ultra-record” and thus join the record months of the past. After all, March 2024 was not the only month to set a record. February also set a record. And 2023 was the hottest year measured in Austria since 1767.

Global climate phenomena also have an impact on these weather changes. The extremely warm air masses from North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula are responsible for the coming heat at the weekend. This would come to Austria with the wind and thus heat the atmosphere.

Another example is the El Niño climate phenomenon. This has indirect effects not only on Europe but also on other regions of the world, such as the Atlantic region. El Niño can even prevent the formation of storms there. The sea surface in the Atlantic is currently far too warm.

Effects on nature
The exceptionally warm periods since February have also meant that flowers that normally bloom later are already visible now. This year, apricot blossoms were visible three weeks earlier than the climate average, as confirmed in a press release from Geosphere Austria. The early development of the plants makes them more sensitive to cold snaps, which are still possible at the beginning of May.

Brandes from Ubimet doubts whether a major cold snap with large amounts of snow is still possible. Even if weather forecasts don’t necessarily hold, a warm April could be a harbinger of a hot year for the rest of 2024. “Of course, we can speculate that the heat records will continue after the previous ones.”

  • source: kurier.at/picture: pixabay.com
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