Europe kicks off the new year with historic winter heat, and ski resorts are closing

The Polish capital, Warsaw, recorded temperatures of 18.9°C on January 1. More than 5 degrees Celsius above the previous record set 30 years ago.

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A winter heatwave broke several national temperature records across Europe over the New Year’s weekend, prompting meteorologists to sound the alarm, while some ski resorts were forced to close due to a lack of snow.

January temperatures are at an all-time high in many European countries, with national records set in at least seven countries.

The Polish capital, Warsaw, recorded temperatures of 18.9 degrees Celsius (66 degrees Fahrenheit) on January 1 – more than 5 degrees Celsius above the previous record set 30 years ago.

The northern Spanish city of Bilbao recorded 24.9°C on New Year’s Day – temperatures that might normally be expected at the beginning of July. Switzerland on Sunday saw 20 degrees Celsius.

Warm weather and reduced snowfall have forced some lower-altitude ski resorts in the northern Alps and the French Pyrenees to close just weeks after opening.

Among the European countries that recorded the hottest days in history are the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania.

Regional records were also broken in France, Germany and Ukraine.

The most extreme event in European climatology.

Maximiliano Herrera

climate scientist

Meteorologists and climatologists have expressed concern about unusually warm winter weather, saying there is “Too many records to count“And that many of the overnight minimum temperatures were similar to summer.

“We just observed the warmest day on record in January for several countries in Europe,” Scottish meteorologist Scott Duncan said on Twitter.

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“Really unprecedented in recent records,” Duncan said Sunday, adding that the intensity and extent of warmth across the region was “hard to understand. “

Many ski resorts in Bavaria are currently suffering from a lack of snow.

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Maximiliano Herrera, a climate scientist who tracks global weather extremes, called the temperature records “the most extreme event ever recorded in European climatology.” in notes Reported by The Washington Post “Nothing close to this,” Herrera added on Monday.

Guillaume Séchet, radio meteorologist in France, He said Europe experienced “one of the most extreme weather days in history” on the first day of 2023.

Winter heat comes after the record summer

The record-breaking winter heat in Europe is followed by the region’s hottest summer on record and stands in stark contrast to the summer A severe cold wave has been seen in the United States in recent weeks.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service, an intergovernmental agency that supports European climate policy, Found The European average temperature for August and the three-month period June-August was the highest ever in 2022 by “large margins”.

A severe lack of precipitation and a series of heat waves in the summer It had a clear impact on European waterwaysThis escalated concerns about food and energy production at a time when prices were skyrocketing due to Russia’s war with Ukraine.

In April last year, the world’s leading climate scientists warned The fight to keep global warming below the critical 1.5°C threshold has reached ‘now or never’ territory.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has repeated calls for a significant reduction in global fossil fuel use to avert climate catastrophe.

“It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C,” Jim Skia, co-chair of IPCC Working Group III, said in a statement accompanying the report. “Without immediate and deep reductions in emissions across all sectors, this will be impossible.”

The burning of fossil fuels – such as coal, oil and gas – is a major driver of the climate emergency.

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