The fight against global warming has been slow. Too slow, according to the annual Copernicus report on European climate, which was officially published today. Not only was last year the hottest year on record in Europe, winter and autumn also broke all records. The rainfall record was also measured in Europe. It was also exceptionally warm in the arctic.
“The report provides a comprehensive analysis of relevant European climate events, and takes into account and takes into account many of the key climate indicators, including the global context,” said Carlo Pontembo, Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). “The interaction of variables such as temperature, sea ice, precipitation, river drainage or soil moisture can only be analyzed if all parts of our climate system are monitored. It is more important than ever that we use the information available to limit climate change and reduce future risks in As soon as possible “.
At 3.4 degrees above the average for the 1981-2010 reference period, winters in Europe were exceptionally warm, 1.4 degrees warmer than the previous record. It was exceptionally warm in Northeast Europe in particular, with temperatures locally ranging between 6 and 9 degrees above average. This has consequences for snow cover, sea ice, and the number of days the maximum temperature is below freezing.
In the summer, there were several periods of extremely hot weather in 2020, hitting different regions every month. However, the heat waves were not as intense, widespread, or prolonged as they had been in past years. However, temperature records are shattered during the summer, as in Scandinavia in June and Western Europe in August. In France, the record temperature was exceeded several times in August.
In February 2020, large parts of Europe were affected by higher than average amounts of rain as a result of several heavy rains. In northwestern Europe, this wet period was followed by one of the driest periods of the past 40 years, in terms of soil moisture and rainfall. This transition from wet to dry had a noticeable impact on the entire continent, leading to a shift from high to low river drainage in parts of northwestern Europe, such as the Rhine Basin. For Europe, the average river discharge in April and May was the lowest since 1991.
Storm Alex, which hit the United Kingdom, France and Italy hard in early October, brought record rainfall and drained a river above average across most of Western Europe, leading to devastating floods in some areas. Domestically, there was up to three times more precipitation than usual in October.
The regional average for European flammable conditions was close to the 1981-2010 average, but with periods above average domestically, particularly late winter and spring in the Balkans and Eastern Europe.
2020 also saw the largest number of hours of sunshine in Europe since satellite measurements began in 1983.
The report also clarifies the situation around the world. Greenhouse gas concentrations (carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4)) continued to rise. Preliminary estimates based on satellite data indicate that carbon dioxide concentrations increased by 0.6 percent during the year and that of methane by 0.8 percent. The data also shows that greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere in 2020 reached the highest global annual average since Copernicus began satellite measurements in 2003.
Around the world, 2020 was one of the three hottest years on record. The past six years have been the hottest on record. Global indicators also show that the average temperatures over the past five years are the highest on record, 1.2 degrees above the 1850-1900 average.
For the Arctic, 2020 was the second warmest year on record, with an air surface temperature of 2.2 degrees above the 1981-2010 average. Although the start of the year was cooler than average in most parts of the Arctic, summer and autumn compensated for the highest temperatures on record in both seasons.
The high temperatures in 2020 were mainly the result of an exceptionally warm year in the Arctic in Siberia. For this region, 2020 was the hottest year on record, at 4.3 degrees above average and 1.8 degrees above the previous record. Sea ice is at an all-time low in the adjacent Arctic seas for most of the summer and fall.
In March, an extremely powerful polar vortex – an extensive gathering of extremely cold air over the poles in the stratosphere a few dozen kilometers above it – led to an unprecedented depletion of the ozone layer over the northern hemisphere. During the summer, Arctic Siberia also saw dry conditions and record-breaking bushfires.