France suffered record heat, rain shortfall in 2022: weather office

France experienced its hottest average temperature and lowest levels of rainfall on record in 2022, the national weather office said on Friday.

The average temperature for the year was 14.5 degrees Celsius (58.1 Fahrenheit), "very far above 2020 which held the previous record" of 14.07 degrees Celsius, Meteo France said in a statement.

The heat was "a symptom of climate change," it added.

The country also suffered a "record rainfall deficit" of 25 percent below the long-term average, the lowest since 1989, the weather office added.

Like much of western Europe, France experienced a punishing summer of record temperatures and forest fires that led to a renewed focus on climate change.

Autumn and winter have also been exceptionally mild, with rain and warm temperatures reducing usually icy ski slopes in the Alps and Pyrenees mountains to muddy expanses.

French President Emmanuel Macron faced criticism from some climate scientists this week over his New Year's Eve address to the nation last weekend, in which he suggested the drought and baking temperatures last year were a surprise.

Talking about overlapping problems that buffeted the country, he said: "Who could have predicted the wave of inflation, sparked thereafter? Or the climate crisis with spectacular effects again this summer in our country?"

"'Who could have predicted the climate crisis?'" scientist and geologist Goneri Le Cozannet wrote on Twitter.

"It's funny, that's one of my favourite jokes to make fun of politicians who have lost contact with reality."

Le Cozannet is a contributor to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which warned in February that time had nearly run out to ensure a "liveable future" for all on earth.

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