2023 third-warmest year since Belgian records began in 1833

2023 third-warmest year since Belgian records began in 1833
Credit: Belga/Jonas Roosens

With an average temperature of 12.1°C, 2023 looks set to become the third warmest year since records began (in 1833), based on measurements from the weather station in Uccle up to 18 December and forecasts for the rest of the year.

The record years remain 2022 and 2020, with an average temperature of 12.2°C. With an average minimum temperature of 8.5°C this year, 2023 matches the absolute record set in 2014. In general, 2023 was a year full of extremes, with one common thread: global warming.

June 2023 was the warmest June since records began, with average temperatures above 20°C (20.3°C) for the first time. Monthly records for average minimum and maximum temperatures also fell. For the first time since 1892, temperatures did not drop below 10°C during the entire June month.

With 29 spring days (maximum temperature of 20°C or higher), the absolute record from 20 years earlier – in June 2003 – was equalled, and with 17 summer days (maximum temperature of 25°C or higher), a new record was reached.

Sunniest and warmest, but not wettest

Additionally, Belgium experienced the first heat wave of the year from 8 to 17 June 2023. That month was also the sunniest June ever – with a total of 307 hours and 50 minutes of sun.

September 2023 was also the warmest September month since observations began, with an average temperature of 18.8°C. The previous record dated back to 2006 (18.4°C). The month also marked the latest heat wave ever recorded in Belgium (4-11 September) with six days reaching 30°C – beating the previous record of 2 tropical days (in 2020, 1949, 1919, 1911 and 1906).

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With an expected total precipitation of 989.2 mm on 208 days at Uccle, 2023 ranks among one of the wetter years of the current reference period (1991-2020) but does not break any records. When compared to the start of observations, 2023 is not even in the top 10 wettest years in Belgium.

Additionally, 2023 saw the second-longest dry spell since observations began in Uccle: not a single drop of rain fell in Uccle between 16 May and 16 June. The longest dry spell (36 days) occurred in 2007.

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