Europe Endures Hottest Summer on Record

China and California also experienced unprecedented heatwaves and weathered unrelenting droughts.
By Daniel Dawson
Sep. 12, 2022 13:36 UTC

The aver­age tem­per­a­ture this sum­mer in Europe was the high­est on record, accord­ing to data from Copernicus, Europe’s cli­mate change ser­vice.

Average air tem­per­a­tures from June to August exceeded the pre­vi­ous record set in 2021 by 0.4 ºC, with extreme heat­waves hit­ting the east of the con­ti­nent in August and record-break­ing tem­per­a­tures scorch­ing the south­west ear­lier in the sum­mer.

An intense series of heat­waves across Europe paired with unusu­ally dry con­di­tions have led to a sum­mer of extremes, with records in terms of tem­per­a­ture, drought and fire activ­ity in many parts of Europe, affect­ing soci­ety and nature in var­i­ous ways,” Freja Vamborg, a senior sci­en­tist at Copernicus, told the BBC.

See Also:Drought on Iberian Peninsula Expected to Persist Through November

The data shows that we’ve not only had record August tem­per­a­tures for Europe but also for sum­mer, with the pre­vi­ous sum­mer record only being one year old,” she added.

This sum­mer saw record-break­ing tem­per­a­tures across many European coun­tries, includ­ing parts of France and Portugal. Across the con­ti­nent, the heat was also accom­pa­nied by the worst drought of the past 500 years.

While it is very dif­fi­cult to deter­mine whether cli­mate change directly caused any indi­vid­ual extreme weather event, World Weather Attribution (WWA) pre­vi­ously con­cluded that record-high tem­per­a­tures of 40 ºC in the United Kingdom would have been extremely unlikely” with­out human-caused cli­mate change.

The ini­tia­tive, which involves researchers world­wide, used obser­va­tional and model analy­sis to deter­mine that human-caused cli­mate change made the event at least 10 times more likely.”

They added that in a world with 1.2 ºC cooler aver­age air tem­per­a­tures, the United Kingdom would have likely been 2 ºC less hot.

At a global level, August was the joint-third-hottest on record, with tem­per­a­tures exceed­ing the 1991 to 2020 aver­age for the month by 0.3 ºC.

Outside of Europe, the olive-grow­ing regions of China expe­ri­enced drought and heat­waves through­out the sum­mer months.

Parts of Sichuan, in the south­west, expe­ri­enced 70 con­sec­u­tive days of tem­per­a­tures exceed­ing 40 ºC and the low­est water lev­els on record, result­ing in sig­nif­i­cant crop losses and power short­ages.

According to data from the United States Department of Agriculture, China pro­duces about 8,000 tons of olive oil per annum, mainly in Sichuan.

California, which accounts for vir­tu­ally all olive oil pro­duced in the United States, also wit­nessed one of its warmest sum­mers.

Earlier this week, parts of the Golden State expe­ri­enced record-high tem­per­a­tures. Sacramento, the state cap­i­tal, recorded a record high exceed­ing 46 ºC. San Jose did, too, with the mer­cury nearly touch­ing 43 ºC. Other cities recorded daily record highs, includ­ing San Francisco and Salinas.

California pro­duc­ers expect an excep­tion­ally low har­vest of 1.8 mil­lion tons in the com­ing crop year, par­tially fueled by the state’s unre­lent­ing drought.


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