Thousands of records were broken in Europe’s historic winter warming

Thousands of records were broken in Europe’s historic winter warming

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As 2022 turned to 2023, an extremely strong winter heat dome swept over much of Europe, creating unprecedented warmth for January. As temperatures soared 18 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 20 Celsius) above normal from France to western Russia, thousands of records were broken between Saturday and Monday – many by wide margins.

The extreme warming followed a record warm year in many parts of Europe and provided another example of how human-induced climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of such extreme weather events.

On New Year’s Day, at least seven countries saw their warmest January weather on record as temperatures soared to spring levels: Latvia reached 52 degrees (11.1 Celsius); Denmark 54.7 degrees (12.6 Celsius); Lithuania 58.3 degrees (14.6 Celsius); Belarus 61.5 degrees (16.4 Celsius); Netherlands 62.4 degrees (16.9 Celsius); Poland 66.2 degrees (19.0 Celsius); and the Czech Republic 67.3 degrees (19.6 Celsius).

Those keeping track of world weather records described the warm spell as historic and could hardly believe its scope and scale.

Maximiliano Herrera, a climatologist who tracks global weather extremes, called the event “completely insane” and “absolute madness” in text messages to the Capital Weather Gang. He writes that some of the observed high nighttime temperatures are unusual for summer.

It is “the most extreme event ever seen in European climatology,” Herrera wrote. “Nothing comes close to that.”

Guillaume Sechet, a radio meteorologist in France, agreed, tweeting this Sunday was one of the most amazing days in Europe’s climate history.

“The intensity and extent of warming in Europe is currently difficult to understand,” tweeted Scott Duncan, London-based meteorologist.

Here are some of the most impressive records set in Europe on New Year’s Day:

While the most extreme temperatures were seen on New Year’s Day, exceptionally mild weather began on New Year’s Eve.

Calendar-day scores and monthly records fell on Saturday, surpassing marks set just a year earlier in many cases.

The Meteorological Service of the Czech Republic tweeted that the country celebrated the warmest New Year’s Eve in history. Prague, village 247 years of measurementsset a new monthly high of 63.9 degrees (17.7 Celsius).

Here are some of the more significant temperature records set on Saturday:

  • France saw impressive record highs such as a high of 76.6 degrees (24.8 Celsius) in Verdun. The country as a whole saw the warmest New Year’s Eve.
  • Six out of nine federal states in mountainous Austria saw the warmest December 31 on record. Temperatures were as warm as 64.9 degrees (18.3 Celsius) in Aspach.
  • Luxembourg set a December record for the country with 64.0 degrees (17.8 Celsius) in Wormeldange. Belgium reached a record high of 63.5 degrees (17.5 Celsius) in December in Diepenbeck.
  • Bad Neuenahr-Arweiler surpassed Germany highest December low as it only dropped to 59.5 degrees (15.3 Celsius).

Monday marked the third day of widespread high temperatures not previously seen in mid-winter. Many more monthly and daily records were set in the eastern half of Europe, especially in Germany, Hungary, Romania and Russia.

By Tuesday, the places where the temperatures will be the highest will probably shift to Ukraine. After that, the heat should subside a little.

This exceptional winter warmth comes after the warmest 2022 in many parts of Europe, including United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland.

Extreme heat visited Europe in waves throughout the year and was exacerbated by a historically severe summer drought. The combination helped the UK reach 104 degrees (40 Celsius) for for the first time on record in July.

The science of heat domes and how drought and climate change are making them worse

Although the heat is slowly decreasing in Europe as Arctic air blows in from the northeastabove normal temperatures are forecast for much of the continental region through at least January 10. After that, the forecast is a little more unclear, but a cooler pattern could emerge by the middle of the month.

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