According to the Copernicus annual report, the European State of the Climate 2022, 2022 was the driest year ever in Europe, or at least since there are meteorological records, from the second half of the 19th century. 63% of European rivers were below the 1991-2020 average last year, and it was the 6th consecutive year of below average flows for the continent's streams.
According to Copernicus, Southern Europe had the highest number of days with severe heat stress on record, and the trend across Europe is growing.
The only positive aspect, in 2022 the amount of solar radiation received by the continent was the highest in 40 years, with a growing trend over the same period. Average temperatures in Europe over the past 5 years, 2018-2022, were 2.2 degrees Celsius above 1850-1900 pre-industrial levels.
The report released today reiterates the data on the European climate already anticipated by Copernicus in January. Last year was the second warmest year on record in Europe since there are scientific records: 0.9C above the 1991-2020 historical average, a record only surpassed by 2020.
2022 had the hottest summer ever recorded: 1.4 C above the thirty-year average.
2022 the driest year ever in Europe
In the winter of 2021-2022, large parts of Europe had fewer than average snow days, in many regions for less than 30 days.
In spring, rainfall was below average in many areas, with May being the least rainy month on record. The lack of winter snow and the hot summer have led to a record loss of ice from the glaciers of the Alps, more than 5 km2.
The rain shortage continued into the summer, with exceptional heat waves leading to extensive and prolonged drought. Globally, the last 8 years have been the warmest on record, and concentrations of greenhouse gases have reached the highest levels ever detected by satellites: 417 parts per million for carbon dioxide and 1,894 parts per billion for methane.
In 2022, the average global temperature was 1.2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate expects to keep temperatures below 2 degrees from the 1850-1900 pre-industrial average, and the Glasgow Cop26 lowered this threshold to 1.5 degrees.