Last summer was Europe’s hottest on record by a clear margin, new data shows.
It was also the continent’s second-hottest year on record, exceeded only by 2020 and just slightly warmer than 2019, 2015 and 2014, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service said.
Last year was also the hottest year on record for several countries in Europe, including the UK, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy and Portugal.
The autumn was also the third warmest on record.
It was the world’s fifth-warmest year on record, with annual temperatures 0.3C above the average for 1991-2020 – around 1.2C above pre-industrial levels.
The past eight years have been the warmest recorded as the world witnesses the effects of climate change.
The figures chime with other global data showing European temperatures have increased by more than twice the global average over the past 30 years – and that they have the highest rate of increase of any continent in the world.
Last year western and northern Europe sweltered in soaring temperatures and heatwaves combined with persistently low rainfall, leading to widespread droughts, especially in southern and central parts of the continent.
There were unusually high levels of wildfires in southwestern Europe, especially in France and Spain, which pushed emissions from fires to their highest levels in 15 years for the EU plus the UK.
‘Another year of climate extremes’
Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, said: “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 report also showed 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.