Firefighters extinguish a forest fire in the Elbe-Elster district (picture from July 2022): High emissions from forest fires
Photo: Jan Woitas / dpa
The weather last year was often extreme.
The European earth observation program Copernicus reported in its annual report on climate change that new highs had been measured in Western Europe, China and the Middle East, among other places.
Accordingly, the past eight years have been the warmest in the world.
Last summer was the warmest ever recorded in Europe.
"2022 was a year of extreme weather phenomena," said Samantha Burgess, deputy chief of the Copernicus Climate Change Monitoring Service.
This proves “that we are already suffering from the dire consequences of climate change”.
To avoid the worst consequences, emissions urgently need to be reduced and society needs to adapt to the changing climate.
According to Copernicus, 2022 was the fifth warmest year since records began.
High emissions from forest fires
According to the report, heat waves combined with hardly any rain and dry soils caused periods of drought in many places in Europe, which led to problems in agriculture, shipping and the energy industry.
The extreme drought also increased the risk of wildfires - summers are estimated to have had the highest emissions from wildfires in the EU and UK in the past 15 years.
From its measurements and estimates, the EU service also deduces that temperatures in Europe have risen more than twice as much as the global average over the past 30 years and that Europe is warming the most of all continents.
On average, it was 0.3 degrees warmer last year than in the Copernicus reference period from 1991 to 2020. Compared to the pre-industrial era, this means global warming of around 1.2 degrees.
The international community of states wants to stop global warming at a maximum of 1.5 degrees in order to prevent the most catastrophic consequences of climate change.
The Copernicus records go back to 1979.
The climate change service also uses data from ground stations, balloons, airplanes and satellites going back to 1950.
Data on temperatures, sea ice cover and other aspects are published monthly using computer analysis.