The summer of 2022, which has seen an increase in global warming-related disasters, was the hottest on record in Europe, the European climate change service Copernicus said Thursday.
Forests on fire, rivers drying up, crops at half-mast, heat records exploded. The feeling of the Europeans of a summer of fire is confirmed by satellite readings, global warming is here and well there.
Over the three months of the meteorological summer (June-August), temperatures exceeded the 1991-2020 average by 1.34°C, and the previous record of 2021 by 0.4°C, according to Copernicus readings, which are based on data from 1979.
The summers of 2010 and 2018 were exceeded by 0.5 °C and that of 2003, remembered for a heat wave until now considered exceptional, by 0.6 °C.
For August 2022 alone, temperatures were “by far the highest” recorded, “at 1.72 °C above the 1991-2020 average,” Copernicus said in a statement.
This new record comes as the impacts of climate change are increasingly felt around the world.
“The previous record was only one year old,” said Freja Vamborg, head of science at the European institute, in a statement.
Drought and fires
And to recall the catastrophic consequences of this warming: “Drought and fires in many parts of Europe have affected society and nature in various ways.
When it comes to fires, the 27 countries of the European Union had set a record by mid-August at this point in the year since satellite data began in 2006, with more than 660,000 hectares burned. Regions usually spared have been affected, such as in the west of France the mythical forest of Broceliande in Brittany.
The drought is affecting many European countries, with dry rivers and restrictions in some places. The consequences are already being felt in the agricultural sector, with fears for the harvest and possible effects on already high inflation.
Many countries experienced record heat, with the UK exceeding 40°C for the first time.
Scientists have been warning for many years that the consequences of global warming will multiply as average temperatures rise.
The 2015 Paris Agreement, the main treaty to combat climate change, sets a goal of keeping global average atmospheric warming “well below” 2°C and, if possible, at 1.5°C relative to the pre-industrial era, when large-scale emissions of greenhouse gases, which cause warming, began.
But that warming has already reached 1.2°C, and current commitments by states to reduce emissions put the world on a “catastrophic” warming trajectory of 2.7°C, according to UN experts.
The consequences of global warming have not only hit Europe, and the summer of 2022 has made the reality of global warming for billions of people more real than ever before, with deadly floods in Pakistan and heavy rains in the United States. China has also been hit by heat waves and drought.
But if the theme of global warming has become part of the public and political debate, the energy crisis that is shaking the world is also causing fears of a new race towards fossil fuels, the main source of global warming.