Europe: climate crisis causes the warmest New Year in history

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Europe: climate crisis causes the warmest New Year in history

The New Year should coincide with the culminating phase of the strong African anticyclone that hit Europe, with anomalous peaks in the central-western regions. The whole European sector will be above average, even if the temperature rise will be more inhibited in the plains, where mists and fogs will limit solar radiation.

However, there are all the conditions for locally record temperatures to be reached for the period in many European countries. The warm event should diminish from January 2-3, when cooler ocean currents are expected to drop in latitude.

Alaska and California

Between New Year's Eve and January 1, 2022, anomalous heat of exceptional proportions is expected in various parts of the globe. Alaska is in the throes of an abnormal heat wave, with temperatures in some places reaching 20 degrees at a time of year usually characterized by bitter cold.

On Kodiak Island southwest of Anchorage, 19.4 degrees was recorded last Sunday, the highest temperature ever recorded in Alaska in December. The new record follows a series of outliers recorded in previous days such as 18.3 degrees at Kodiak airport, 16.6 degrees in Cold Bay, and 13.3 degrees on Saturday 25 in Unalaska: it was the day of Warmest Christmas ever recorded in Western Aleutians.

Extreme weather conditions, the so-called Icemageddon »: after the heavy snowfalls, torrential rains arrived that left the region covered with slabs of ice as hard as concrete. Widespread power outages, road and office closures resulted.

The thick ice that formed on the roads made them dangerous for drivers, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities warned. Ice is extremely difficult to remove once it has stuck to the pavement. Even though the air temperature was warm, as the roads were at sub-zero temperatures, the ice stuck to the surface.

The ice is expected to remain on the roads at least until March or April, Rick Thoman, of the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, told the BBC. In the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, an average of 5.13 meters of snow has been recorded in the last month, the highest level ever reached in December since surveys began in 1970.

A record that comes after months of extreme drought which fueled fires and caused water shortages. 2021 in the US was characterized by two major adverse events that are anomalous from a climatic point of view. Hurricane Ida, which took place at the end of the summer, caused nearly 70 deaths, devastating damage in Louisiana and as far as the northeastern states, causing fear of a new Katrina.

At the end of a year already full of extreme weather conditions, just a few weeks ago, 12 and 13 December, it was instead the turn of the devastating tornadoes that hit the Midwest and the South, especially Kentucky, with at least 90 deaths.

The last month of the year is generally the quietest time for tornadoes, but the high temperatures have caused the phenomenon, which CNN places as the third biggest news on the climate of 2021.