Europe experienced the hottest summer on record in 2021, according to EU scientists in their Copernicus Climate Change Service report. The temperature in Europe was one degree Celsius above the 1991-2020 average.
Italy even recorded a provisional heat record for the whole of Europe, hitting 48.8 degrees Celsius in Sicily last August. A particularly bad heat wave in the Mediterranean helped to ignite wildfires in Greece, Turkey, and Italy.
The EU scientific information agency's records date back to 1979, but it also uses records from ground stations, balloons, aircraft and satellites going back to 1950. C3S reported in January that globally the last seven years have been the warmest on record.
The climate researchers also took a closer look at flood disasters mainly in Germany in mid-July 2021, which claimed the lives of more than 180 people in the western states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia.
Likewise record rains were recorded on July 14, 2021 over Belgium and western Germany. According to the C3S report, the previous weeks had seen extremely heavy rainfall in the region, so the soil was no longer able to absorb more water.
The report also found that sea surface temperatures last year in parts of the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas were the highest since satellite records began in the early 1990s.
Parts of the Baltic were 5 C above average, which is quite a lot, said the report's lead author, Freja Vamborg.
Scientists believe that the most catastrophic consequences of climate change can only be averted if global warming is limited to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, as countries pledged under the 2015 Paris Agreement. We are facing a lot of challenges, said Mauro Facchini, head of the Copernicus Unit at the EU.