It’s official: Europe has experienced its hottest summer since at least 1880, according to the European Commission’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). Measurements from satellites have been compiling data since the 1950s, but there are also records dating back to 1880 and the conclusion is clear: nothing has resembled this summer. The average temperature in Europe was 1.34C higher than the average for the period 1991 to 2020.
“A series of heatwaves throughout Europe, together with unusually dry conditions, have made this a summer of extremes, with record temperatures, drought and forest fires,” said Freja Vamborg of the C3S.
This year has been the hottest, but a look back shows that temperatures have been consistently and unusually high from June to August in recent years. The last record was just last year, in 2021, and before that 2010 and 2018, but the new one stands at 0.4C higher.
This year, August alone broke the European record by 0.4C above last year’s figure.
The Spanish weather office, Aemet, has ratified the statistics from Copernicus. The Iberian península, Barearics and Canaries have also experienced the hottest summer since records began, in this case in 1961. The previous record in this country was 2003, when it was 1.8C hotter than the average. This year has beaten that, by a further 0.4C.
The average temperature in mainland Spain has been 24.7C this summer, 2C higher than the average from 1980-2010. Since the first official heatwave was declared on 12 June this year, 42 days have been classified as a heatwave.