Climate Change

Unusually warm January in Europe; record temperature in many countries: WMO

Conditions caused by warm air from north-west Africa  

By DTE Staff
Published: Thursday 05 January 2023

Several countries in Europe had an unusually warm New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, according to a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) bulletin released January 4, 2023. 

Hundreds of weather stations across the continent had their all-time highest daily temperature for the months of December or January, WMO wrote. “Temperatures above 20°C were observed in many European countries, even in Central Europe.”

Source: WMO

Dresden-Hosterwitz in Germany recorded 19.4 degrees Celsius on December 31, 2022, the highest for the month so far. The previous warmest day was December 5, 1961 when the temperature was 17.7°C. 

In Czech Republic, Prague Klementinum saw 17.7°C on New Year’s Eve. This was a record high for December, since the place recorded 17.4°C on December 5, 1961. 

On New Year’s Day, at least four European countries saw record temperatures. These include:

  • Spain (25.1°C in Bilbao Aeropuerto)
  • France (18.6°C in Besançon; the highest for January was 16.8°C recorded in 1918)
  • Poland (18.9°C in Warszawa – Okęcie, Warsaw) 
  • Denmark (12.6°C in Abed on Lolland)

The phenomenon was caused by warm air from north-west Africa, the weather agency observed. “A high-pressure zone over the Mediterranean region and an Atlantic low-pressure system  induced a strong south-west flux that brought warm air from north-western Africa to middle latitudes.”

The warm air was further heated up as it crossed the North Atlantic Ocean due to higher-than-usual sea surface temperatures, according to the bulletin. “In the eastern North Atlantic, sea surface temperature was 1-2°C higher than normal, near the coasts of Iberia (Spain, Portugal) even more.”

National weather agencies of Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Spain have announced 2022 as the warmest year on record, according to WMO.

On the American side of the Atlantic, a severe winter storm — Bomb Cyclone — gripped parts of United States and Canada towards the end of December and more severe storms are forecast for the region in the coming days.

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