UK saw hottest-ever year in 2022 as Europe’s climate warms

LONDON (AP) — Britain had its warmest year on record in 2022, official figures showed Thursday, the latest evidence that climate change is transforming Europe’s climate.

The Met Office weather agency said the UK’s provisional annual average temperature was 10.03 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit), the highest since comparable records began in 1884. The previous record was 9.88 Celsius ( 49.8 Fahrenheit) established in 2014.

The Met Office scientists said that human activity, mainly fossil fuel emissions, has made such warm conditions much more likely. Britain’s 10 hottest years on record have all been since 2003.

“The results showed that the 10C record in a natural climate would occur about once every 500 years, whereas in our current climate it could be as frequent as once every three to four years,” said Nikos Christidis, climate attribution scientist at metoffice.

Britain is not alone. France’s average temperature topped 14 degrees Celsius (57.2 Fahrenheit) in 2022, making it the warmest year since weather readings began in 1900. Switzerland’s weather service said the average annual temperature of the Alpine nation’s 7.4 degrees Celsius (45.3 Fahrenheit) was “by far the highest value since measurements began in 1864.”

Spain also had its warmest year since records began in 1961, according to the national weather agency Aemet, with an average daily temperature of 15.4 degrees Celsius (59.7 Fahrenheit). He said the four warmest years on record for the southern European country have come since 2015.

Last year there was a summer drought and heatwaves across much of Europe, with the temperature in Britain topping 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for the first time on record. Norway’s Svalbard islands in the Arctic had their hottest summer in more than a century of record. The archipelago’s average temperature for June, July and August was 7.4 degrees Celsius (45.3 Fahrenheit), the Norwegian Meteorological Institute said.

Autumn brought more heavy rain to parts of Europe, including the mountainous Italian island of Ischia, where downpours in November triggered a massive landslide that pushed cars and buildings into the sea and killed at least a dozen people.

Unlike the US and Canada, which have been affected by severe cold and snow storms, much of Europe is experiencing unusually warm winter weather.

In Germany, the year ended with the hottest New Year’s Eve on record, with temperatures reaching 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) in the south of the country. Belarus, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland and the Netherlands all set national record daily highs for either December 31 or January 1.

As 2023 begins, many low- and mid-altitude ski resorts in the Alps, the Pyrenees and other European mountain ranges are suffering from a lack of snow.

In Bosnia, spring weather has thwarted even artificial snow: either it’s too hot to produce it, or it melts soon after being spit on the slopes. On Wednesday, along the slopes of Bjelasnica, near Sarajevo, the accumulation of snow amounted to little more than several white patches on a landscape of brown and green grass.


Associated Press writers from across Europe contributed to this report.

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