Europe saw hottest summer and second hottest year on record in 2022 – report

Europe had a record-breaking summer of soaring temperatures, heatwaves and drought, and its second hottest year on record in 2022, new data show.

The continent’s summer was its hottest on record by a clear margin, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said, while 2022’s autumn was the third warmest recorded.

Overall, it was Europe’s second warmest year on record last year, exceeded only by 2020, and just slightly warmer than 2019, 2015 and 2014, as the region warms faster than any other continent on Earth, the figures show.

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Europe had a record-breaking summer of soaring temperatures, heatwaves and drought, and its second hottest year on record in 2022, new data show.

Globally, the C3S’s dataset records 2022 as the world’s fifth warmest year on record, with annual temperatures 0.3C above the average for 1991-2020 – or around 1.2C above pre-industrial levels.

And the last eight years have been the eight warmest ever recorded, as climate change continues to bite.

The figures, from the “ERA5” temperature dataset, agree with other global data that European temperatures have increased by more than twice the global average over the past 30 years, and have the highest rate of increase of any continent in the world.

Western and northern Europe saw prolonged and intense heatwaves in 2022, while there were persistent low levels of rainfall which, combined with high temperatures and other factors, led to widespread drought conditions, especially in southern and central parts of the continent.

The conditions also led to unusually high levels of wildfires in southwestern Europe, especially in France and Spain, with emissions from fires reaching their highest levels in 15 years for the EU plus the UK.

Elsewhere in the world, there were other signs of a changing climate, with both polar regions seeing episodes of record temperatures in 2022.

At Vostok station, in East Antarctica, the reported temperature reached minus 17.7C in March, the warmest ever measured in its 65-year record, and in September temperatures over the centre of Greenland were 8C higher than average.

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The Antarctic saw unusually low sea ice conditions throughout the year, while there were record-breaking spring temperatures in Pakistan followed by record rainfall and severe floods, and China saw long-lived heatwave conditions and drought through the summer.

Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, adds: “2022 was yet another year of climate extremes across Europe and globally.

“These events highlight that we are already experiencing the devastating consequences of our warming world.

“The latest 2022 climate highlights from C3S provide clear evidence that avoiding the worst consequences will require society to both urgently reduce carbon emissions and swiftly adapt to the changing climate.”

The 2022 climate highlights report comes from C3S, which is implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) on behalf of the European Commission.

The report also shows that greenhouse gases continue to build up in the atmosphere, with concentrations of carbon dioxide increasing by around 2.1 parts per million, similar to the rates of recent years.

Methane concentrations increased by close to 12 parts per billion – higher than average, but below the last two years’ record highs, the report said.