Following a summer marked by devastating heat waves, the UK, Germany, and France are on track for their hottest year on record, weather officials say.
Barring an exceptionally cold December, the UK will see its warmest year since 1884, according to the Met Office. “All of the top 10 warmest years on record for the UK have occurred since 2002; a clear indicator of our warming climate,” Mike Kendon of the National Climate Information Centre said in a statement.
In France, the average temperature for the year is projected to be 14.2 to 14.6 degrees C, a marked increase over the previous record, set in 2020, of slightly less than 14.1 degrees C. Even if the country sees a very cold December, “2022 will be the hottest year recorded in France since measurements began — so since at least 1900 — that is a certainty,” Matthieu Sorel, a climatologist with the French weather service, said in a briefing.
In Germany, the average temperature for the first 11 months of the year was 11.3 degrees C, outstripping the 2020 average of 11.1 degrees C, an all-time high. “Never since 1881 has the period from January to November in Germany been as warm as in 2022,” a spokesperson for the national weather service said in a statement.
All three countries saw a spike in mortality amid this summer’s extreme heat. England and Wales reported 3,271 excess deaths across the summer’s warm periods. France reported 2,816 excess deaths amid its three heat waves. And in Germany, an estimated 4,500 people died as a result of extreme heat.
“Climate change is serious, as it leads to, among other things, more frequent heat waves in Europe,” said Paul Glantz, an environmental scientist at Stockholm University and lead author of a new study showing that European summers are warming twice as fast as the global average. Summer temperatures across much of the continent have already risen by more than 2 degrees C, the study found.