The year 2018 was one of the three hottest ever recorded in Europe. “All seasons experienced above average temperatures in 2018,” according to a report by Copernicus, the European Earth Monitoring Programme while also underlining a “net warming trend in the last four decades”.
According to the report released on Tuesday, 2018 was among the warmest years since temperature recording began. The summer temperatures even set a record, exceeding the usual average by 1.2 degrees Celsius. “From late spring to autumn, northern and central Europe experienced an unusually warm climate, with the highest known temperatures since at least 1950,” the authors noted.
The periods of drought lasted longer. “The seasonal precipitation was lower by 80% than normal in spring, summer and fall, extending over entire plant growth and harvesting periods,” they said.
Parts of central and northern Europe recorded up to 40% more hours of sunshine than average, while Germany even recorded its record amount of sunshine for any given year.
Consequences of the excess sun: The Alps suffered their biggest mass loss, while lakes’ surface temperatures broke records (since 1995).
Northern Europe also recorded its highest number of annual forest fires since at least 2003, with fires considered as the “worst in modern history in Sweden.”
Even though there were less bouts of extreme precipitation than normal, southern Europe was hit severely by some extreme episodes. After touching Portugal, Hurricane Leslie caused heavy rain and floods in Spain and in the southwest of France. Leslie was one of the most violent meteorological phenomena in that region since 1842. Some exceptionally heavy rainfall at the beginning of the year also caused serious flooding in Paris.
A group of American researchers at Berkeley Earth published a report in January. This report showed that the last four years were the warmest worldwide since the industrial era, 2018 taking fourth place. “The average global temperature in 2018 was lower than in 2015, 2016 and 2017, yet warmer than what had been observed annually before 2015,” the report said.