NewsEurope's Temperatures Soar: Double the Global Rate, WMO Warns

Europe's Temperatures Soar: Double the Global Rate, WMO Warns

"Red alert". The situation in Europe is the worst.
"Red alert". The situation in Europe is the worst.
Images source: © Adobe Stock

8:22 AM EDT, April 23, 2024

According to reports from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the EU's climate watchdog Copernicus, temperatures in Europe are escalating at nearly double the global average rate. The agencies caution that this trend poses significant risks to human health and is accelerating glacier melt, among other impacts.

Recent five-year studies reveal that Europe's temperatures have surged by approximately 4.1 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels. Based on findings from two leading climate monitoring organizations, this increase significantly outpaces the global average warming of 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

The 2015 Paris climate agreement aimed to cap global warming at 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, the authors of the report emphasize.

Copernicus's Elisabeth Hamdouch underscored that Europe has witnessed a year marked by escalating temperatures and an uptick in climate extremes, including unprecedented heat stress, rampant fires, heatwaves, a decline in glacier ice coverage, and reduced snowfall.

Lack of Sufficient Action

This European climate overview forms part of a broader global climatic condition examination by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The WMO has published this analysis annually for the past thirty years. This year's edition was released under a "red alert" status, signaling an urgent call to address the insufficient global efforts to combat climate change's repercussions.

The Copernicus Agency highlighted that March marked the tenth month in a row of record-breaking monthly temperatures. In 2023, the average sea surface temperature across Europe soared to its highest recorded annual level.

Increase in Deaths

Report authors also recorded a notable surge in heat-related fatalities last year. Over 150 individuals in Europe lost their lives directly due to extreme weather occurrences like storms, floods, and fires.

Economic tolls linked to weather and climate extremes in 2023 were substantial, with damages exceeding $14.7 billion. Notably, Europe's elevated temperatures triggered approximately a 10 percent reduction in glacier ice cover in the Alps over the past two years.

Yet, the report also mentions some anomalies in the overall warming pattern. Temperatures in Scandinavia and Iceland remained below the European average.

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