BERLIN (AP) – Researchers say last summer was the hottest summer ever in Europe, with temperatures as high as 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average for the previous three decades.
A report released Friday by the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service showed that while spring 2021 was cooler than average, the summer months were marked by “severe and prolonged heat waves” that set several new temperature recordsincluding an unprecedented 48.8 C (119.8 F) measured in Sicily in August last year.
The prolonged high temperatures contributed to forest fires such as those seen in Siberia, Greece and Turkey last yearand experts say it increased the likelihood of heavy rainfall of the kind that led to deadly floods in Belgium and Germany last July more likely.
Sea surface temperatures last year were higher than at any time since at least 1992 in the eastern Mediterranean and parts of the Baltic Sea, where mercury rose more than 5 C (9 F) above the average during the summer months.
Annual wind speeds in parts of Western and Central Europe were among the lowest since at least 1979, the Copernicus Climate Change Service said. This led to a reduction in the estimated potential for wind power – one of the main sources of renewable energy that European countries are investing in to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity production.
The agency’s results are based on terrestrial weather stations and satellite observations dating back to the 1950s.
Globally, the report showed that 2021 was ranked between the 7th and 5th warmest year ever, depending on the data set used.
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