Copernicus Climate Change Service reports
For people sweltering in Earth’s rising heat, driven from their homes by wildfire, swept away by rising floods or impoverished by drought, numbers don’t adequately capture the misery Earth’s human-made climate crisis is dishing out.
But they’re worth noting – perhaps memorizing.
In its most recent annual report – European State of the Climate 2022 – the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) lays them out for us:
Around the world, the last eight years have been the warmest on record. Last year was the fifth warmest.
Last summer was Europe’s warmest ever — 1.4°C above average, 0.3–0.4°C warmer than in 2021. Last August, in the UK, for the first time, the mercury topped 40°C.
The highest temperatures in western Europe were 10°C warmer than typical summer maxima.
In the Alps and Pyrenees, glaciers lost five cubic kilometers of their volume, down to an average depth of 3.5 meters.
Glacial melt is estimated to add 1 mm per year to the rise in mean global sea levels – seas that have stored 90 percent of atmospheric heat, and will be returning it to the atmosphere for many thousands of years to come.
In a series of September heatwaves, temperature eight degrees above average, 23% of the Greenland Ice sheet’s surface melted.
Meanwhile, European rivers are drying up. Their 2022 discharge was the second lowest on record – the sixth consecutive year of below-average flows. Sixty-three percent of European rivers experienced below-average flows.
And, across eastern and southern Europe, wildfires raged. In Czechia, France, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain, an estimated 900,000 hectares of forests and grasslands went up in smoke, sending vast quantities of Earth-warming CO2 into the atmosphere.
Not a pretty picture.
Listen to my conversation with Carlo Buontempo, Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service. The C3S is one of six thematic services of the Copernicus Program – the Earth Observation Program of the European Union.