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It is abnormally hot in Europe this fall.  Climatologists feel the heat.


For some parts of Europe, it’s like summer doesn’t end.

Countries ranging from Spain and France to northern Norway and Sweden are experiencing abnormally hot temperatures for this time of year.

The mild conditions in western and central Europe follow a summer marked by intense heat waves, widespread drought and severe wildfires across the continent, adding to concerns about the consequences already being felt from climate change.

In Morón de la Frontera in southern Spain, temperatures last week topped 95 degrees Fahrenheit, conditions more common in summer. In France, some regions experienced temperatures nearly 20 degrees F above normal in late October and early November.

Even some Nordic countries have not been immune to the recent heat wave – the Swedish city of Kristianstad reached 67 degrees F less than a week ago, Agence France-Presse reported.

“This is truly a continent-wide event,” said Andrew Pershing, director of climate science at Climate Central, a nonprofit research organization headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey. “These temperatures are not only unusual, but rather remarkable for this time of year.”

The unusual heat is due to a bend in the jet stream, a fast-moving ribbon of air that flows west to east over the northern hemisphere and controls weather systems. The resulting trough over the eastern part of the North Atlantic Ocean allowed southwesterly winds to move warmer-than-usual air over Europe, Christopher O’ said. Reilly, a researcher in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading in the UK.

The jet stream is powered by temperature differences between the colder Arctic region to the north and the warmer air masses to the south. When the air band is more undulating than normal, it can move warm air northward or, conversely, cause polar air to reach farther south. Changes in jet stream behavior can significantly affect weather systems around the world.

Some scientists have studied the impact – if any – of global warming on the jet stream, but the links, if any, are not yet fully understood. Still, it’s clear that climate change is amplifying the consequences of jet stream anomalies, O’Reilly said.

“This is even true for the relatively recent past,” he said in an email. “For example, October 2001 had a similar orientation of the jet stream trough over the North Atlantic, with southwesterly winds bringing warmer air and associated abnormally high temperatures over Western Europe/ central – but temperatures were significantly lower than this year and this is due to the global warming of the climate system.

A report released on Wednesday by the World Meteorological Organization found that temperatures in Europe have risen more than twice the global average over the past three decades. From 1991 to 2021, temperatures in Europe have warmed at an average rate of around 0.9 degrees F per decade, with implications for societies, ecosystems and economies across the continent, the agency said.

“Europe presents a live picture of a warming world and reminds us that even well-prepared societies are not immune to the impacts of extreme weather events,” said Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the EU. meteorological organization, in a press release.

At Climate Central, Pershing and his colleagues created a tool to help people visualize the effects of such warming over time. The group’s Climate Change Index, which was launched last week, reflects changes in average daily temperatures for 1,000 cities around the world over the previous 365 days.

The tool offers a way to track in real time how much climate change is contributing to conditions in these locations.

“You can really see how different people’s experience with climate change depends on where you live and the season,” Pershing said.

Across western and central Europe, abnormally warm temperatures are expected to persist for the next two weeks. Although unusual, the abnormal heat wave is part of the larger pattern of global warming, Pershing said.

“These are the conditions we expect to see more of in the years to come,” he said. “These are the conditions we need to prepare our cities, our families, our businesses for the future.”

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