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Concern after new climate report: “Europe’s extreme climate will continue in 2024”

Concern after new climate report: “Europe’s extreme climate will continue in 2024”

2023 was another extreme weather year in Europe and, by some accounts, the warmest year on record to date. During the year, the population of Europe experienced record temperatures, record fires and drought, but also record floods and storms, and at the same time – record melting of glaciers.

The large number of different climate records surprises many climate scientists, says Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the European Union's Copernicus climate service.

But it's the record-breaking average sea temperatures across Europe that worries Samantha Burgess the most.

She says: – I look with concern at all the heat that has accumulated in the oceans in 2023 and continued this year, which we cannot really explain.

– It contributes to more evaporation and higher air temperatures, which may lead to more rain and stronger storms. Such as Storm Hans in August, which hit Sweden and Norway hard.

Divided Europe

But Europe is divided, as we see in the annual Copernicus report. Sweden and the northern region were not affected by unusually high temperatures as happened in southern and central Europe, where Spain witnessed record temperatures, Italy experienced severe drought, and Greece witnessed the largest forest fire ever documented in Europe.

The heat after heat record was broken in Europe during 2023. But not to the same extent in Sweden and the Nordic region. picture: Source: Copernicus (graphics)

The floods affected the entire continent

But heavy rains affected the entire continent. Such as Storm Babette that hit the coast of southern Sweden in October, among others.

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2023 will see heavy rainfall across much of Europe, a record number of named storms and record floods.

-We can see an entire year's rainfall in one day. We are likely to see more of this type of heavy rain and severe storms in the future, with man-made climate change.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that deaths from extreme weather events have increased by 30 percent in Europe over the past two decades, according to a Copernicus report. this is not true. It is true that these deaths are related to heat.