Europe had the hottest summer on record in 2021
Scientists say last summer was the hottest summer on record in Europe, with temperatures 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average for the previous three decades.
A report released Friday by the European Union’s Copernicus climate change service found that while the spring of 2021 was cooler than average, the summer months were marked by “severe and long-lasting heat waves”. which set many new temperature records, including an unprecedented 48.8 C (119.8 F) measured in Sicily last August.
Prolonged high temperatures have contributed to wildfires such as those seen in Siberia, Greece and Turkey last year, and experts say it has increased the likelihood of heavy rains of the type that have led to deadly floods in Belgium and Germany last July.
Last year, sea surface temperatures were warmer than at any time since at least 1992 in the eastern Mediterranean and parts of the Baltic Sea, where mercury rose by more than 5 C (9 F) above average during the summer months.
Annual wind speeds in parts of western and central Europe were among the lowest since at least 1979, the Copernicus Climate Change Service said. This has led to a reduction in the estimated potential of wind energy, one of the main sources of renewable energy on which European countries are banking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to electricity production.
The agency’s findings are based on ground-based weather stations and satellite observations dating back to 1950.
Globally, the report showed 2021 ranked between the 7th and 5th warmest year on record, depending on the dataset used.