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WEATHER

2008 among Germany’s warmest years in the last century

Climate change made its presence known this year in Germany, one of the warmest years since 1901. While many may enjoy the balmy temperatures, scientists are alarmed because five of the century’s last seven warmest years have been very recent, the German Weather Service (DWD) reported this week.

2008 among Germany's warmest years in the last century
Photo: DPA

Two weeks before the end of the year the average temperature is at about 9.8 degrees Celsius (49.64 Fahrenheit) and therefore 1.7 °C (35.06 °F) above average, the DWD said on Tuesday. “That is a clear indicator for climate change,” DWD meteorologist Gerhard Lux told news agency DDP.

Unsettled German summer weather prevented 2008 from beating the century record from 2000, which averaged 9.9 °C. “We didn’t really have the summer of the century and a pretty cool September, otherwise we might have been able to break the record,” Lux said. Unless the temperatures drop dramatically, 2008 eight will be probably be somewhere between the fourth and seventh warmest year since records begun in 1901.

But even though 2008 won’t break temperature records, the DWD was still able to count a sensational 35 summer days on average. The year was drier and sunnier than average too, he said.

While big storms Emma and Kirsten swept across the country in March, reaching top speeds of 233 kilometres per hour, claiming several live with hail, thunderstorms, and even tornados, they were not out of the ordinary.

As the year draws to a close with the holiday, Lux said Germany would probably not have a white Christmas. High-pressure conditions will mean that the weather on Christmas Eve will stay mostly dry, he said.

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast.

WILDFIRES

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.

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