Unseasonal warm spell looms over Europe, causing concern
Temperatures have been significantly higher than normal in wide swathes of Europe, from Spain to Sweden.
Temperatures in Spain on October mornings exceeding 30°C (86 degrees Fahrenheit) may have been a delight for tourists and beach-goers, but environmentalists are very alarmed by the temperatures that have been substantially above average across large swaths of Europe, from Spain to Sweden.
Following a summer marked by frequent heatwaves throughout much of the continent, Europe is witnessing extreme temperatures even as November approaches, indicating rapid climate change. "The month has not yet ended but we can already say practically without fear of contradiction that it will be the hottest (in Spain) since 1961" when records began to be collated, said Ruben del Campo of Spain's meteorological service Aemet.
He noted that if extrapolated statistics from historical reconstructions are used, this past month will have been Spain's warmest October in almost a century. "One, two days above 30 degrees is normal" for Spain, said del Campo. "But so many days, no. These are summer temperatures, whereas we are already heading into autumn."
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At 8:30 am (0630 GMT) on Friday, the temperature in the northern resort of San Sebastian reached 30.3°C, significantly above the seasonal normal. With forest fires declared in the Basque area, which includes San Sebastian, officials have banned barbecues and fireworks to reduce dangers.
According to the Climate Central think tank, the Spanish cities of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Zaragoza are all in the top 10 European cities most affected by global warming on the evidence of the past 12 months.
Sizzling Spain to Sweden
Neighboring France, like Spain, has experienced a warmer-than-normal October. But, further to the north, Sweden has also been scorching, with a record high of 19.5°C in the southern city of Kristianstad on Friday. "This is the highest temperature ever recorded in Sweden this late in the year," Erik Hojgard-Olsen, a meteorologist at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), told AFP.
Meteo France reported Friday temperatures nearing 30 degrees in southwestern France, which also saw severe forest fire devastation during multiple heatwaves this summer.
Read next: Britain, France experience record-level scorching hot weather
The maximum temperature in Belgium's capital, Brussels, was 24°C, which was 10 degrees more than the typical for late October.
Britain's Met Office noted Wednesday that Londoners enjoyed a balmy 20.5°C, "closer to what we would normally see at the end of August rather than the end of October."
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A warm front moving in from the southwest of the continent has also aided Germany, which has been experiencing temperatures more akin to summer than the beginning of November. "Hard to believe it's late October as large parts of Europe (and North Africa) see unusual heat," tweeted the World Meteorological Organization on Friday.
Hard to believe it's late October as large parts of Europe (and North Africa) see unusual heat— World Meteorological Organization (@WMO) October 28, 2022
🌡️ in southern Spain up to 35°C
France has had 9 days with 🌡️ more than 4°C above average
More than 25 sites in UK reached 20 °C on 27 Oct#StateofClimate
⤵️ @CopernicusECMWF chart pic.twitter.com/2FrxvYUJET