In 2022, Europe experienced the second warmest year and warmest summer on record. This emerges from the State of the European Climate 2022 report published by the European Union’s Copernicus Foundation. Temperatures in Europe are rising twice as fast as the global average, faster than on any other continent. Long-term droughts and heat waves have hit large parts of Europe. A record loss of glacier ice has been recorded in the European Alps. In 2022, the global annual mean values of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane will reach the highest values ever measured by satellite.
Heatwaves, droughts and extreme weather events: climate change is becoming increasingly noticeable in Europe. The new report from the European Union’s Copernicus Foundation, the central Earth-observing component of the European Union’s space programme, provides an overview of current climate developments in Europe. Based on data from satellites and measurement stations and with the participation of several European weather services and other research institutions, the report outlines the climate conditions that will shape Europe in 2022.
Hottest summer in Europe
According to this, 2022 was the second warmest year in Europe since records began, only surpassed by 2020. Average summer temperatures were 0.3 to 0.4°C higher than 2021, which was previously considered the hottest year. in summer. Measurement data shows that temperatures in Europe are rising faster than on any other continent. While average global temperatures over the past five years have been about 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels, they have already risen by 2.2°C in Europe and up to three degrees Celsius in the European Arctic.
“The current warming is in the upper range of climate projections,” climatologist Carsten Friedrich of the German Weather Service in Offenbach rates. “An increase in the average temperature is always associated with an increase in extremely high temperatures. As a result, heat waves will recur as they have in recent years more frequently and intensely.” In 2022, there were heat waves in large parts of Europe. In July, temperatures in Great Britain reached 40°C for the first time since records began.
Drought and melting of glaciers
During the summer months, the combination of heat and low rainfall results in severe drought in most European countries. The problem is compounded by the fact that in the winter of 2021/2022 there were up to 30 days of below-average snowfall in some areas. Friedrich explains that “many large European rivers such as the Po, Rhine and Rhone depend on meltwater from the Alps”. The lack of water in the Po River caused a severe drought in northern Italy, as a result of which agriculture suffered huge losses. But shipping on the Rhine was again affected.
For the Alps, the report records a record loss of glacier ice: the melting of more than five cubic kilometers of glacier ice. The European Arctic has also been severely affected by rising temperatures. In September, temperatures in Greenland were eight degrees Celsius above average, and instead of snowfall, which is typical for this month, rains fell. This led to a strong melting of ice, which at the same time affected no less than 23 percent of the ice sheet.
(Video: Copernicus ECMWF)
greenhouse gas peak
With an average annual concentration of 417 parts per million (ppm), the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere reached the highest value ever measured by satellite in 2022. The methane content also reached a new high of 1,894 ppm. “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is essential to mitigate the worst effects of climate change,” says Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service.
In 2022, Europe will also have the highest insolation in 40 years, in line with an increasing trend observed over the past few decades. Accordingly, the potential generation of electricity from PV systems was above average for most of the continent. In terms of wind energy, the report notes that wind speeds in mainland Europe in 2022 were in line with the average for the past 30 years. However, in many parts of Western, Central and Northeastern Europe, it was slightly below average, meaning that the potential for onshore wind power generation was below average. “Understanding and responding to changes and diversity in renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar, is critical to supporting the energy transition toward net-zero emissions,” says Burgess. “Accurate and timely data improves the sustainability of this energy transition.”
source: State of the European Climate 2022Copernicus Climate Change Service
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