Europe had its warmest summer on record this year, though only by a small margin over two previous highest temperatures for June-August, European Union scientists said on Tuesday.
The EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service said the average surface air temperature in June-August was close to 1.0C above the 1991-2020 average, making it the hottest in its dataset. The previous warmest summers, 2010 and 2018, were 0.1C cooler.
The 2021 summer temperature marks the latest milestone in a long-term global warming trend as emissions of greenhouse gases change the planet’s climate.
Copernicus’ records go back to 1950 but are cross-checked with other data sets that trace back to the mid-19th century.
It said in a statement that, globally, August 2021 was, together with August 2017, the third-warmest on record at a little over 0.3C warmer than the 1991-2020 average.
For Europe, August 2021 was near the 1991-2020 average, but with contrasting conditions across the continent. These included record-breaking maximum temperatures in Mediterranean countries, warmer-than-average temperatures in the east and generally below-average temperatures in the north.