The European continent is bearing the effects of climate change, warming at a rate twice as fast as the global average. Scientists have found that the rate of warming is the highest on any continent in the world. The researchers warn that heatwaves, wildfires, and other extreme weather events will result because of this warming.
According to a report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) which analyzed 30 years’ worth of data from 1991 onward, a disconcerting trend of speedy warming across Europe has been revealed that is faster than the warming experienced by any other continent. Average temperatures in Europe were rising at a rate of 0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade over the studied period, reaching an overall average of 2.2 degrees C (4 degrees F) above pre-industrial levels. That is way above the 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) limit set by the international climatology community with the goal of minimizing the devastating environmental effects of climate change.
The European Earth-observation program Copernicus stated in a report that Europeans are already feeling the pinch of this warming; according to estimates, the summer of 2022 was the driest in Europe’s 500-year history, with widespread water shortages and wildfires affecting even those nations that are usually accustomed to wetter summers.
There are a number of reasons why Europe has warmed more quickly than other parts of the world. It has a high percentage of land mass, which warms faster than the sea. The Arctic and generally the high northern latitudes are also the fastest warming regions globally, and a relatively large part of Europe is in the northern latitudes. Feedback systems could also be contributing, such as dried-out soil moisture, meaning temperatures rise faster, thus drying the soil more. Another example of feedback loops is Europe’s vulnerability to double jet streams.