Scientists have revealed that Europe recently experienced the second warmest winter on record. The average temperature from December to February was 1.4 degrees Celsius higher than the average from 1991 to 2020.
The unseasonal heat resulted in the joint second-warmest winter ever recorded in Europe in 2021–2022, trailing only the winter of 2019–2020. The Copernicus Climate Change Service of the EU released the data, which shows how traditional seasons are changing as a result of global warming. A winter heatwave gripped portions of the continent from late December to early January.
As unusually mild temperatures transformed snow into slush, several ski resorts were forced to temporarily close. In a number of nations, regional temperature records were shattered. For instance, Switzerland’s highest winter temperature ever was 19.4C north of the alps, while northern Spain enjoyed nearly 25 degrees.
The Copernicus data indicate that Eastern Europe and northern Scandinavia experienced particularly high temperatures. The shocking lack of precipitation has coincided with the high temperatures and continues into February.
According to the Copernicus center’s analysis, in February 2023, the majority of western and southern Europe experienced conditions that were drier than average, and several regions saw record low levels of soil moisture. The waterline of Lake Garda in Italy is about 65 cm lower than usual for this time of year. Lakes Maggiore and Como, the Po River, and other bodies of water are also extremely low.
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