Record heat and low rainfall made 2022 France's hottest, driest year yet

© AFP - JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER

The French national weather office on Friday confirmed that 2022 was both the hottest and driest year on record, with an annual average temperature of 14.5°C and 25 percent less rain than the long-term average.

Last year's average temperature was "very far above 2020 which held the previous record" of 14.07°C, Météo France said in a statement.

All but two months – January and April – were hotter than usual, the weather service said, calling the high temperatures "a symptom of climate change".

A record rainfall deficit has also left many rivers, particularly in the south of France, below their normal levels, despite autumn and winter rains.

The groundwater level remains low in several regions, obliging local authorities to restrict the use of water for inessential purposes such as car washing or lawn care.

Drought warnings are in place in the eastern Pyrenees, in Savoy and in the upper reaches of the Garonne River. Some areas of southern and eastern France have now suffered six consecutive months of drought.

A mild, damp winter has also left many ski slopes in the Alps and Pyrenees without snow.

Bad news underground

The National Bureau for Geological and Mining Research says the winter restocking of France's groundwater resources is running six weeks to two months behind normal rates.

Rainwater has to penetrate surface soils before it can contribute to groundwater reserves. However, last autumn's unusually mild conditions kept surface vegetation active for longer than usual, sucking up much of the rainwater available.


Read more on RFI English

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