Scientists say last summer was the hottest summer in Europe, with temperatures 1 degree Celsius higher than the average for the past three decades.
A report released by the Copernicus Climate Change Service on Friday found that although spring 2021 was cooler than average, the summer months were marked by “strong and prolonged heat waves” that recorded many new temperature records, including an unprecedented 48.8 degrees. Celsius was measured in Sicily last August.
Prolonged high temperatures have contributed to wildfires, such as those observed in Siberia, Greece and Turkey last year, and experts say it has increased the likelihood of rainfall that caused fatal floods in Belgium and Germany last July.
Last year, sea levels in the eastern Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea, where mercury levels rose by more than 5 degrees Celsius above average during the summer months, were warmer than ever since at least 1992.
Annual wind speeds in parts of Western and Central Europe have been among the lowest since at least 1979, the Copernicus Service said. This has led to a reduction in the estimated potential of wind energy, which is one of the main sources of renewable energy for which European countries are seeking to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation.
The Agency’s conclusions are based on ground-based meteorological stations and satellite observations dating back to 1950.
The report states that globally, 2021 is between the 7th and 5th warmest years recorded, depending on the data set used.
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