SAccording to cientists, last summer’s temperatures were 1° Celsius (1.8° Fahrenheit) warmer than average over the past three decades.
A report released Friday by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service found that while spring 2021 was cooler than average, the summer months were marked by “severe and long-lasting heatwaves” that saw numerous new temperature records, including an unprecedented 48.8 C (119.8 F) measured in Sicily last August.
Experts believe that prolonged temperatures were a contributing factor to the emergence of wildfires like those in Siberia and Turkey last year. They also made heavy rain, such as the type that caused deadly flooding in Belgium last July, more probable.
The sea surface temperature was higher last year than any other time since 1992, in parts of the Baltic Sea and the eastern Mediterranean Sea. In these areas the mercury rose by more than five degrees (9 F) during summer months.
The Copernicus Climate Change Service reported that the annual winds speeds in western and central Europe had been among the most low since 1979. This led to a reduction in the estimated potential for wind power — one of the main sources of renewable energy that European countries are banking on to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation.
The agency’s findings are based on ground-based weather stations and satellite observations dating back to 1950.
According to the data used, 2021 was listed as either the 7th, or the 5th most warm year in history.
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