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When Paris becomes Barcelona: an extraordinary rise in temperatures sets records in Europe


This warm episode in the middle of winter, which meteorologists associate with climate change, has triggered thermometers to unprecedented levels in multiple parts of the continent

A disproportionate increase in temperatures in the middle of winter sets records in much of Europe, from Denmark to the Czech Republic or Belarus.

Technically, it is not a heat wave, a phenomenon that until now can only occur in summer, although Spain last May was on the verge of registering the first in spring.

And, in any case, it does not force water restrictions or kill the most vulnerable, as in the summer of 2022 or previous ones.

It also does not trigger air conditioning consumption or cause sleepless nights.

In cities like Paris it is possible to walk with a light coat to sit on a terrace to have a coffee, as if one were in Naples or Barcelona.

But, although it may seem like a blessing, it does not stop being a new reason for concern about the climate crisis, with important implications for the countryside or ecosystems.

Eight European countries beat the highest temperature record for this month on January 1: Liechtenstein, with 20 °C;

Czech Republic, with 19.6 °C;

Poland, with 19 °C;

The Netherlands, with 16.9 °C;

Belarus, with 16.4 °C;

Lithuania, with 14.9 °C;

Denmark, with 12.6 °C;

Latvia, with 11.1 °C, according to the list compiled by the Géoclimat page.

Unbelievable extreme meteorological event in progress in Europe which is shadowing anything extreme seen in the past.

Currently Polish capital Warsaw with 18.9C is pulverizing by 5.1C margin the old January record set in January 1993 !

— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) January 1, 2023

There are few precedents, due to the area covered by the increase in temperatures and the margin with which records are being broken, of a warm episode similar to that of these days, according to experts.

"It is the most extreme anomalous warm event in European history," climatologist Maximiliano Herrera states in an email, who on his blog and his account on the Twitter social network

Extreme Temperatures Around The World

follows extreme weather phenomena throughout the world.


"No one is going to die in January," he adds, "but in relative terms, for the first time in history Europe has had an event on par with the most extreme in North America."

Other meteorologists are more cautious and consider that in order to make such a statement, it is necessary to wait for the studies that analyze this episode.

The average temperature increased in France by 8° above normal on December 31.

In Germany, the weather station at Berlin's Tempelhof airport recorded a temperature of 17.9 °C on the same date, almost two degrees more than the previous record, set in 1977. In Bilbao, the thermometer reached 25.1 °, seven tenths above that registered just one year ago.

And Warsaw, with 19 °C on New Year's Day, beat the previous maximum this month by 5.1 degrees.

"It is as if in Madrid we had had 25 °C, something absolutely unusual because in the Spanish capital the monthly record is 19.8 °," contextualizes Rubén del Campo, spokesman for the State Meteorological Agency of Spain (Aemet).

"It is very striking and not normal that countries that are at much higher latitudes and closer to a source of cold such as Siberia are registering record temperatures similar to those of Madrid for January."

🌡️ #1erjanvier

Avec une anomalie positive, à l'échelle de la France de +7.6°C.

📊Une telle anomalie (> +7°C) sur une journée est très rare mais tendance à la hausse ces dernières années.

Sur les 30 dernières années: 25 j dont 6 en 2022

Sur les 30 années précédentes: 6 fois.

— Météo-France (@meteofrance) January 2, 2023

Records, by their very nature, are usually broken by tenths and rarely, but in recent decades there has been a dizzying increase and greater forcefulness.

It is one thing to win by one degree and another, a win by five.

“You have to do an exhaustive analysis of what happened now,” says Del Campo, “but it is similar to what happened in the summer of 2021 in Canada and the northwestern United States, when records were broken by four and five degrees” .

The direct cause of this unusual increase in temperatures is the "entrance of a very warm subtropical air mass that rose to very high latitudes in the European continent, driven by winds from the south," explains the Spanish meteorologist.

In any case, Del Campo has "no doubt" that the episode has the unmistakable stamp of climate change.

"The atmosphere is doped with greenhouse gases," he says.

“Not only are average temperatures rising, but the weather patterns that make heat waves more powerful and frequent are also changing.

What used to be heat is now a heat wave, and what was a heat wave is now an extreme heat wave.”

Ski slope in Lenggries (Germany) with hardly any snow.

Sven Hoppe (AP)

Jérôme Lecou, ​​of the French National Meteorological and Climate Service (Météo France), assures that “longer and more intense episodes than were observed before” are now being recorded.

These warm phenomena are more frequent;

those of cold, like the one experienced in France in December, rarer and briefer.

Météo France, in a report published in November, already anticipated that, whatever the temperatures were in December, 2022 would be the warmest year in France since temperatures were measured (as in Spain).

"The notable summer episodes of 2022 would have been highly improbable and markedly less intense without the effect of climate change," the report reads.

The intensity and extent of warmth in Europe right now is hard to comprehend.

Warsaw in Poland 🇵🇱 just smashed its January record by over 5°C.

— Scott Duncan (@ScottDuncanWX) January 1, 2023

The current warm episode

it is rather a wave of



It's not really hot and it's not annoying.

For many people in Europe, its effects are more beneficial than uncomfortable.

The temperature is pleasant.

You can walk through cities where, at this time, it is more advisable to lock yourself up at home or go out very warm.

However, although this extraordinary increase in temperatures is not as frightening as in summer, when people die and fires spread, these huge anomalies do have serious consequences for agriculture and biodiversity.

“We can say that the brutal anomalies seen in the heat waves in France and Benelux in 2019 and in the UK in 2021 have now been seen in some 15 countries.

If that had happened in the middle of summer, we would be talking about 43 or 44 °C in Germany and Poland, and 40 °C in Belarus, as well as the Netherlands and Belgium.

This would cause hundreds of deaths at least”, explains Herrera.

The heating bill

In the geopolitical context, this warm episode has some positive effects.

Just a few weeks ago, countries like France were preparing contingency plans for possible energy shortages due to a freezing winter;

Now Europeans can reduce heating consumption and energy bills for a few days.

In Ukraine, rising temperatures are giving a little respite to a population racked by Russian bombing and power outages that leave millions without heat or electricity.

The problem is that the tree of the good temperature hides the forest from the pernicious effects.

The most serious are for the countryside or nature, but there are other economic impacts: during the Christmas holidays, half of the French ski resorts have closed due to lack of snow.

"We are restless: the raw material has failed to meet," Jean-Luc Boch, president of the national association of mountain station mayors, told Agence France Presse.

The worst is over, according to experts.

"The peak took place on December 31," summarizes Lecou, ​​from Météo France.

"But we will continue with high temperatures until mid-January."

And the rest of winter?

Del Campo responds: "The set of seasonal prediction models continue to point to a winter that is warmer than normal."

Cherry blossoms in Jasne Blonia, in the Polish city of Szczecin on Tuesday, in days marked by mild temperatures in the area.

Marcin Bielecki (EFE)





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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-01-04

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