‘Extreme event’: January hot weather breaks records across Europe | Extreme weather conditions

Weather records have fallen across Europe at a disconcerting rate in recent days, meteorologists say.

The hottest January day on record was recorded in at least eight European countries, including Poland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belarus, Lithuania and Latvia, according to data compiled by Maximiliano Herrera, a climatologist who tracks extreme temperatures.

In Korbielów, Poland, the mercury reached 19°C (66°F) – a temperature the Silesian village is more accustomed to in May, and 18°C ​​above the annual average of 1°C for January. In Javorník in the Czech Republic, it was 19.6°C, compared to an average of 3°C for this time of year.

Temperatures in Vysokaje, Belarus would normally hover around freezing at this time of year. On Sunday, they reached 16.4°C, beating the country’s previous record in January by 4.5°C.

Elsewhere on the continent, local records were broken at thousands of individual measuring stations, with nearly 950 knocked down in Germany alone from Dec. 31 to Jan. 2, Herrera said.

Northern Spain and southern France benefited from beach weather, with 24.9C in Bilbao its hottest January day on record, and record breaking resorts in Cantabria, Asturias and the Basque region. Only Norway, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy and the southeastern Mediterranean did not post any records.

“We can consider this the most extreme event in European history,” Herrera said. “Take the case of the extreme heatwave of July 2022 in the UK and spread that sigma (magnitude) to a much larger area, encompassing around 15 countries.

“We can arguably say this is the first time that an extreme weather event in Europe (in terms of extreme heat) has been comparable to the most extreme in North America.”

Alex Burkill, senior meteorologist at the Met Office, agreed it was an extreme weather event. “It was extremely hot over a wide area, which is almost, to be honest, unheard of,” he said.

Burkill said a warm air mass that developed off the west coast of Africa traveled northeast across Europe from Portugal and Spain, driven by high pressure over the Mediterranean.

“It was widespread, Denmark, the Czech Republic, as well as almost all of Germany saw January temperatures surpassing records,” Burkill said.

“It should also be noted that we had exceptionally hot weather in the south of England. New Years Eve I think around seven locations in the south of England recorded their hottest New Years Eve on record.

Meteorologist Scott Duncan said the temperatures across Europe were staggering. “We had a really hot new year last year, but that’s blowing water,” he said. “We have seen long-standing records broken by wide margins in several countries.”

The causes were difficult to determine, Duncan said, with La Niña and abnormal sea surface heat playing a role. “None of the above here is new, so what has taken extreme status to break records? Our warming atmosphere and oceans are ultimately making records easier to break.

Professor Bill McGuire, who has written about the consequences of climate breakdown, said high temperatures portend the worst to come.

“The most worrying thing about this is that – such is the rate of global warming – it’s just not a surprise anymore,” he said. “It’s a small glimpse into a future that will see winter reduced to a few months of dreary, wet and mild weather, with little frost, ice or snow.”

theguardian Gt

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