Winter heat records smashed across Europe as temperatures reached 25°C in Spain on New Year’s Day

Unprecedented January temperatures have been recorded in many European countries  (Reuters)
Unprecedented January temperatures have been recorded in many European countries (Reuters)

Winter heat records have been smashed across Europe this month as temperatures reached 19°C in Poland and 25°C in Spain.

Just days into the new year, the mercury has already risen to levels never before seen in January in eight different countries, as the impact of climate change is felt across the continent.

In Warsaw, Poland, the temperature reached a balmy 18.9°C on New Year’s Day according to the BBC.

Meanwhile, in Bilbao in northern Spain, it was an unseasonable 25.1°C – more than 10°C above the average for this time of year, and similar to temperatures typically seen on a summer’s day.

It comes after large swathes of Spain’s northeast were placed under water restrictions in November as a months-long drought devastated crops in the Mediterranean country.

January temperature records have also been broken in Denmark, the Netherlands, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Latvia and the Czech Republic, the BBC reports.

Climatologist Maximiliano Herrera, who tracks extreme temperatures across the world via his Twitter account @extremetemps, told The Independent: “Regarding the magnitude and area and how records were broken, it can be regarded as the most extreme heat wave (in anomalies terms) ever seen in Europe. This without taking into the equation the length.”

Some European ski resorts have been forced to shut as the record warm winter weather led to a shortage of snow across the Alps.

Temperatures across Switzerland hit 20°C on Monday before falling to 7°C on Tuesday, leaving rolling green hillsides rather than the typical blankets of snow.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, in stark contrast the US and Canada have faced a bitterly cold winter with temperatures plummeting as low as -45°C last month.

At least 56 people died – including some found frozen to death in their cars – after the “bomb cyclone” swept across North America and left some areas under six feet of snow.