Not only was the year in Europe warmer than ever before, but the temperatures in winter and autumn were also higher than ever. In winter, the temperature was 3.4 degrees higher than average, especially over northeastern Europe, the mercury rose even more.
Record amount of precipitation
The report shows that there was less snow and sea ice than before. There were also a few days when the temperature was below zero. According to the researchers, a record amount of the measured rain could be attributed to Storm Alex, which caused major flooding in Western Europe.
A storm destroyed an entire ski resort in Italy in October:
The researchers wrote that the transition from winter to spring was remarkable. In February, for example, it was still exceptionally wet, but the spring was relatively dry.
“It was a really cool transition,” says Gerard van der Schier of KNMI, who co-authored the report. “Storm Alex, the first of the season, immediately brought a lot of rain. 500 to 600 milliliters a day, three times what normally falls in October.”
Van der Schier, who sees the Copernicus results as worrying, says extreme fluctuations in temperature and precipitation coincide with the climate change picture. “I fear this confirms that the climate is heating up very quickly.” Why has global warming accelerated in Europe in particular? “There are hypotheses for this, but we don’t know exactly why.”
The report also shows that the Arctic recorded its second warmest year on record. Globally, the temperature has also risen. 2020 was one of the three hottest years on record, and the last six years were the hottest on record.