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Winter 2019-2020 was the hottest ever recorded in Europe

Not much snow, peaks of 19 degrees Celsius in Norway and even 28 degrees in France: official data confirms the anomalously high temperatures of this past winter.

This has been the warmest European winter ever recorded. The worrying scenario perceived by many Europeans has been confirmed by Copernicus Climate Change Service, the European Union’s Earth Observation Programme, in charge of monitoring climate data from satellites, ships, aircraft and meteorological stations across the world.

Winter 2019-2020 breaks all records

This winter saw average temperatures in Europe 3-4 degree Celsius warmer than the average between 1981 and 2010. Compared to the winter of 2015-2016, which set the previous record, the average temperature has increased by 1.4 degrees Celsius.

“Europe has been experiencing its mildest winter on record. Whilst this was a truly extreme event in its own right, it’s likely that these sorts of events have been made more extreme by the global warming trend,” according to Carlo Buontempo, Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service. “Seeing such a warm winter is disconcerting, but doesn’t represent a climate trend as such. Seasonal temperatures, especially outside the tropics vary significantly from year to year. Part of our work is to compare climate data dating back to the pre-industrial era to ascertain long-term climate trends“.

Oloron-Sainte-Marie
In Oloron-Sainte-Marie in the Atlantic Pyrenees in France, temperatures reached 28.1 degrees Celsius © Myrabella/Wikimedia Commons

The impact of an anomalous winter in Europe

As stated by the The Guardian newspaper, the fact that this was the warmest European winter on record doesn’t come as a surprise to most of the continent’s citizens. In fact, it confirms people’s fears over the past three months. In Norway you could wear a t-shirt outside and enjoy summer-like temperatures of 19 degrees on the 2nd of January. In Helsinki, the capital of Finland, average winter temperatures were 6 degrees warmer than those recorded from 1981 to 2010.

Skiers in Sweden had to resort to indoor slopes due to the higher temperatures, too hot even for artificial snow. This year, Germans were unable to harvest ice wine, a popular dessert wine produced from grapes that usually become frozen whilst still on the vine. The grapes freeze at -7 degrees Celsius, a temperature that none of Germany’s 13 wine-producing regions reached. It was also particularly hot in the Atlantic Pyrenees, in France, with temperatures as high as 28.1 degrees in the shade on the 16th of February. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an isolated anomaly given that temperature of 27.8 degrees were recorded in the area just 15 days earlier.

Featured image © Martin Adams/Unsplash

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