Europe and the polar regions will bear the brunt of warming in 2022

Europe experienced its hottest summer and second hottest year in 2022

The polar regions and Europe have been hit hardest by global warming in 2022, according to a new analysis.

Data from Copernicus, the EU’s climate monitoring service, says 2022 was the world’s fifth-warmest year.

Europe experienced its warmest summer, with temperatures more than double the global average over the past three decades, faster than any other continent.

The last eight years are now also the eight warmest ever recorded.

Last year brought a continuation of the global warming pattern, which has become a new normal, scientists from Copernicus say.

While the La Niña weather phenomenon helped cool the oceans for the third consecutive year, global temperatures were still around 0.3°C warmer in 2022 than during the 1991-2020 reference period.

Scientists say this means last year it was close to 1.2 degrees Celsius above the period 1850-1900, considered the beginning of global industrialization.

Europe and the polar regions were on the brink of this heat.

Temperature records across many western European countries were broken, including the UK, with summer heatwaves and intense droughts affecting many parts.

graphic

graphic

Even the usually cooler October in Europe was about 2 degrees above average last year.

While the western part of the continent was exceptionally hot, cooler weather in the northern and eastern countries dropped the year overall to the second-warmest place in Europe.

“We are already experiencing climate change,” said Samantha Burgess, Copernicus Deputy Director for Climate Change.

“The heatwaves that we saw in Europe in the summer, but also in the spring and also in the autumn… many people remember the heatwave that we also had over the New Year period. So we’re seeing heat waves, not just in the summer, but the rest of the year.”

In the last 30 years, temperatures in European countries have more than doubled compared to the global average.

According to the Copernicus website, Europe has the highest temperature rise rate of any continent in the world.

graphic

graphic

According to the researchers, this is due to several factors. Land areas are warming faster than seas, so this is contributing to Europe’s warming. Another factor is its proximity to the Arctic, where warming is about four times higher than the global average.

One reason is that ice is more reflective and absorbs less sunlight. When the ice melts, it exposes darker areas of land or sea, resulting in increased absorption of sunlight and therefore warming.

Outside Europe, significant heatwaves occurred in the Middle East, Central Asia and China, with heatwaves occurring in Pakistan and parts of India.

Two polar regions experienced record heat again, with temperatures in some places rising more than 2°C above the 1991-2020 average.

In northwestern Siberia, temperatures reached 3 degrees above average.

In Vostok, Antarctica, the mercury hit -17.7°C, the warmest in the weather station’s 65-year history.

Map showing which countries had the warmest year on record in 2022

Map showing which countries had the warmest year on record in 2022

The center of Greenland also recorded values ​​8°C above average in September.

Looking at the global picture, the last eight years have been more than 1°C above the long-term average.

This is approaching the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is the key limit of the Paris climate agreement.

“If we do a fairly simple linear extrapolation and look at current emissions and current levels of warming, we’ll hit 1.5 degrees Celsius by early 2030,” said Samantha Burgess.

Loire

Drought has affected many parts of Europe, including France, where the Loire has dried up

“So we’re already effectively living on borrowed time and borrowed emissions.”

Last year was also marked by a series of extreme climate change events, with perhaps the most devastating flood in Pakistan, which claimed many lives.

Globally, greenhouse gas levels have also increased, with methane rising more than the average in recent years.

Another cause for concern will be carbon emissions from forest fires, with France, Germany, Spain and Slovenia experiencing their highest summer fire emissions in 20 years.

Further insight into the state of the climate in 2022 will come later this week as many other weather agencies release their data.

Follow Matt on Twitter @mattmcgrathbbc.

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