2020 was Europe's hottest year on record - study

 

Last year was Europe's warmest on record by a large margin, the latest in an annual series of global climate reports shows.

The average temperature in Europe in 2020 was 1.9C above the long-term average for 1981-2010, the 31st State of the Climate Report published online by the American Meteorological Society shows.

Parts of the continent, including Luxembourg, Sweden, Finland and European Russia, saw temperatures 2C or more above the average for recent decades.

Although parts of northwest Europe were relatively cooler, the UK still saw its third hottest year on record in 2020, after 2014 and 2006, with temperatures 0.78C above the 1981-2010 baseline.

The report shows the average surface temperature over land areas in the Arctic was the highest since the data record began in 1900.

Last year was also the seventh successive year annual temperatures in the Arctic were more than 1C above the average for the period 1981-2010.

While some 70 monitoring gauges across Europe showed record one-day rainfall totals, there were fewer record extremes than normal, especially over southern Europe, with lower cloudiness and widespread severe to extreme drought over the region.

Globally, temperatures in 2020 were 0.6C above the average for the 30-year period from 1981, despite the temporary cooling effect of a "La Nina" weather phenomenon in the Pacific.

Last year was one of the three warmest years in records dating back to 1850, the report confirms.