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European countries smash September temperature records

Author: AFP | Published: Saturday, September 30, 2023

Average temperatures in France have been exceeding monthly norms consistently for almost two years (GAIZKA IROZ/AFP)

Austria, France, Germany, Poland and Switzerland announced their hottest Septembers on record on Friday, in a year expected to be the warmest in human history as climate change accelerates.

The unseasonably warm weather in Europe came after the EU climate monitor said earlier this month that global temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere summer were the hottest on record.

French weather authority Meteo-France said the September temperature average in the country will be around 21.5 degrees Celsius (70.7 degrees Fahrenheit), between 3.5C and 3.6C above the 1991-2020 reference period.

Average temperatures in France have been exceeding monthly norms consistently for almost two years.

In neighbouring Germany, weather office DWD said this month was the hottest September since national records started, almost 4C higher than the 1961-1990 baseline.

Poland’s weather institute announced September temperatures were 3.6C higher than average and the hottest for the month since records began more than 100 years ago.

National weather bodies in the Alpine nations of Austria and Switzerland also recorded their hottest-ever average September temperatures, a day after a study revealed Swiss glaciers lost 10 percent of their volume in two years amid extreme warming.

The Spanish and Portuguese national weather institutes warned abnormally warm temperatures were going to hit this weekend, with the mercury topping 35C in parts of southern Spain on Friday.

– Records ‘systematically’ broken –

Scientists say climate change driven by human activity is driving global temperatures higher, with the world at around 1.2C of warming above pre-industrial levels.

The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service told AFP earlier this month that 2023 is likely to be the hottest year humanity has experienced.

Higher temperatures are likely to be on the horizon as the El Nino weather phenomenon — which warms waters in the southern Pacific and beyond — has only just begun.

The disruption to the planet’s climate systems is making extreme weather events like heatwaves, drought, wildfires and storms more frequent and intense, causing greater losses of life and property.

World leaders will gather in Dubai from November 30 for crunch UN talks aimed at curbing the worst effects of climate change, including limiting warming to 1.5C, a goal of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement.

Slashing planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions — notably by phasing out the consumption of polluting gas, oil and coal — climate finance and boosting renewable energy capacity will be at the heart of the discussions.

“Until we reach carbon neutrality, heat records are going to be systematically broken week after week, month after month, year after year,” UN climate report lead author Francois Gemenne told AFP this week.

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