Europe has 'warmest October on record', EU earth programme says

Europe has 'warmest October on record', EU earth programme says

Europe had its "warmest October on record" this year, the European Union's earth observation programme said.

Temperatures were nearly 2°C above the average observed over the 1991-2020 period with Austria, Switzerland and France experiencing a record-warm October, Copernicus added.

In France and Spain, temperatures reached above 30°C and several countries reported nights with temperatures above 20°C.

Several other global regions reported abnormally high temperatures including in parts of Canada and the western United States, Copernicus said.

Australia and the southeast US as well as parts of Mexico, South America, northern Africa, pockets across Asia and far eastern Russia had colder-than-average temperatures, added Copernicus.

Copernicus previously said that summer 2022 was the warmest recorded in Europe.

Many European countries saw temperatures that were "extraordinarily unusual for October," Samantha Burgess, Deputy Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, told Euronews.

"People were swimming in October when normally we are wearing autumnal winter coats."

"There's a direct correlation between the concentrations of (greenhouse) gases in the atmosphere and global temperatures," Burgess added.

"Obviously, there's variability within the air, within different regions. But the trend that we've observed over the last decades is very, very clear that the climate is warming directly due to anthropogenic, to human-caused, greenhouse gas emissions."

She added that the impact on Switzerland and Austria in October was particularly unusual.

Austria had its first tropical night in October which is a night when the minimum temperature is above 20 degrees and temperatures were four degrees above average for the month in mountainous parts of the country.

Evolution of heat waves and drought

The average temperature in France was 17.2°C, with the previous warmest October reported in 2001, according to the French meteorological service.

Drought conditions in France remained serious in southern regions, with northern regions going back to normal, Meteo France said.

"October 2022 is part of the expected (and already visible) evolution of heat waves that come with climate change," the national meteorological agency added.

"More intense, more frequent episodes" are likely to occur both earlier and later in the year, Meteo France flagged.

In Austria, precipitation was 33 per cent below the long-term average, the country's weather service said.

A recent study from scientists at the World Weather Attribution (WWA) initiative found that the droughts experienced in the northern hemisphere were at least 20 times more likely due to climate change.

"We had not only a very, very dry summer across Europe, but actually the last 12 months in parts of Europe have been particularly dry," Burgess said.

"When there's a lack of rain and there's higher temperatures, any moisture that is retained in the ground evaporates," she added.

Climate change has also led to an increase in weather extremes - including temperature extremes, floods, droughts and storms, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"The frequency and intensity of hot extremes will continue to increase and those of cold extremes will continue to decrease, at global and continental scales and in nearly all inhabited regions with increasing global warming levels," the IPCC said in their sixth assessment report.

September 2022 was meanwhile 0.41°C warmer globally than the average between 1991 and 2020, Copernicus said.

"Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing, global temperatures keep rising and our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible," said Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general at the UN climate change conference in Egypt this week.

"We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator."