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Last summer, Europe’s hottest on record, EU researchers say

The summer of 2021 was the hottest one Europe has experienced since records began, EU scientists said on Friday, April 22, 2022.

Inger Andersen
Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. Photo credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The temperature was one degree Celsius above the 1991-2020 average, the Copernicus Climate Change Service said in its annual report, which also focused attention on the wildfires that wracked Greece.

Also Turkey and Italy, and the devastating floods were seen in Western Europe.

The agency’s records go back to 1979, but it also used records from ground stations, balloons, aircraft and satellites going back to 1950.

The climate researchers took a closer look at the flood disaster in mid-July 2021 in the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North-Rhine Westphalia, which claimed the lives of more than 180 people.

Record rainfall was recorded on July 14, 2021, over Belgium and western Germany.

The disaster was able to develop in such a way because an unusually large amount of rain had already fallen in the previous weeks and the soil was therefore no longer able to absorb sufficient water, the report said.

The report’s lead author, Freja Vamborg, said more such disasters were likely as the Earth continued to heat up.

The Mediterranean region experienced an intense and prolonged heatwave in July and August, while temperature records were broken in Italy and Spain.

The proportion of climate-damaging gases in the Earth’s atmosphere a key cause of global warming hand increased again in the past year, particularly methane, according to the report.

Although methane remained in the atmosphere for a shorter period of time, it was even more harmful than carbon dioxide and was produced, for example, in agriculture, on landfills or in the oil and gas industry.

Scientists agreed that the most catastrophic consequences of climate change could  only be averted by limiting global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial times.

So far, the climate protection efforts of the states were still far from sufficient and UN studies suggested the world was on track to blow past the threshold unless far-reaching action was urgently taken.

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