Weather records have been falling Europe at a bewildering rate in recent days, forecasters say.
The hottest January day on record was recorded in at least eight European countries, including Poland, Denmark, the Czech RepublicNetherlands, Belarus, Lithuania and Latvia, according to data compiled by Maximiliano Herrera, a climatologist who tracks extreme temperatures.
In Korbielow, Poland, the mercury hit 19C (66F), a temperature Silesian people are more used to in May, and 18C above January’s annual average of 1C. In Javorník, in the Czech Republic, it was 19.6°C, compared to an average of 3°C for this time of year.
Temperatures in Vysokaje, belarus, would normally hover around zero at this time of year. On Sunday they reached 16.4°C, surpassing the country’s previous record in January by 4.5°C.
Elsewhere on the continent, local records were broken at thousands of individual gauging stations, with nearly 950 shot down in Germany alone from Dec. 31 to Jan. 2, Herrera said.
Northern Spain and southern France He enjoyed the beach weather, with 24.9C in Bilbao, the hottest day in January, and records broken in stations in Cantabria, Asturias and the Basque region. Only Norway, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, and the south-eastern Mediterranean had no records.
“We can consider this the most extreme event in European history,” Herrera said. “Take the case of the UK extreme heat wave of July 2022 and spread this sigma (magnitude) over a much larger area, spanning some 15 countries.
“This is arguably the first time that an extreme weather event in Europe (in terms of extreme heat) is comparable to the most extreme in North America.”
Alex Burkill, a senior meteorologist at the Met Office, agreed that it was an extreme weather event. “It’s been extreme heat over a huge area, which is almost, to be honest, unheard of,” he said.
Burkill said a warm air mass that developed off the west coast of Africa had traveled northeast across Europe from Portugal and Spaindragged by the high pressure over the Mediterranean.
“It has become general DenmarkThe Czech Republic, as well as almost all of Germany, have seen record breaking temperatures in January,” Burkill said.
“It is also worth noting that we had exceptionally warm weather in the south of England. New Year’s Eve, I think seven sites in the south of England had their hottest New Year’s Eve on record.”
Meteorologist Scott Duncan said temperatures across Europe were staggering. “We had a very warm New Year last year, but this tops it,” he said. “We are seeing long-standing records broken by wide margins in several countries.”
The causes were difficult to determine, Duncan said, with La Nina and anomalous heat on sea surfaces playing a role. “However, none of the above here is new, so what led to the extreme to record status? Our warming atmosphere and oceans are making records easier to break.”
Professor Bill McGuire, who has written about the consequences of climate change, said the high temperatures were a harbinger of the worst to come.
“The most worrying thing about this is that, with such a rate of global warming, it’s just not a surprise anymore,” he said. “It’s a small glimpse of a future in which winter will be reduced to a couple of months of dreary, humid and mild weather, with little frost, ice or snow.”
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