Illustration photo – The Kandahar piste in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, home to the famous men's World Cup downhill, in a picture dated January 4, 2023.
Brussels – Europe is currently experiencing the second warmest winter on record. This was announced today in a report by the European Union's agency for monitoring the atmosphere and climate change, Copernicus. In addition, the extent of Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest value in February.
The service, which uses a large number of measured data from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations around the world, said that this February was the fifth warmest in the world on record. Most of Europe experienced above average air temperatures, especially northern Norway and Sweden and Svalbard. “Above-average temperatures occurred in the eastern United States, northern Russia, and Pakistan and India,” Copernicus said.
By contrast, below-average temperatures were recorded in the Iberian Peninsula, Turkey, the western United States, Canada, northeastern Russia and northern Australia.
Antarctic sea ice extent last month reached its lowest February reading in the satellite set data, namely 34 percent below the average. This is well below the previous record set in February 2017.
In the Arctic, sea ice extent was four percent below average, making it the second-lowest February in the satellite data record, along with February 2016 and 2017. The most below-average Arctic sea ice concentrations were in the Barents Sea and Svalbard.
“Our latest data show that Antarctic sea ice has reached its lowest extent in 45 years of satellite records. This low sea ice extent may have significant implications for the stability of the Antarctic ice shelves and ultimately for global sea level rise. Polar ice caps are a sensitive indicator climate crisis and it is important to carefully monitor the changes that are taking place,” said the deputy director of the EU service Samantha Burgess.
The Copernicus service, which is operated by the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the European Commission, regularly publishes monthly climate forecasts bulletins. In them, he reports on observed changes in global surface air temperature, sea ice coverage and hydrological variables. All reported findings are based on computer analyses.
In January, the service announced that Europe's year-round average temperatures last year were the second highest on record, surpassed only by 2020. Last summer was Europe's hottest on record, and accompanying exceptionally long and intense heat waves in the west and north of the continent. Globally, 2022 ranked fifth.
In February, the service announced that Europe experienced the third warmest January on record this year. In addition, the extent of Antarctic sea ice also reached its lowest January value.