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Echo: European weather in 2023

2023 was globally the warmest year on record, emphasizing the widespread impact of climate change. Europe stood at the forefront of this. According to the “European State of the Climate 2023” report by Copernicus Climate Change Service and the World Meteorological Organization, Europe is warming at a rate twice that of the global average, underscoring its status as the fastest-warming continent.

Slovenská verzia: Echo: Počasie si s nami robí, čo chce

Source: Copernicus, European State of the Climate 2023


The 2023 marked a significant increase in extreme weather events – from heatwaves and the largest wildfires recorded in the EU to catastrophic flooding events. These phenomena underline the urgent need for robust climate action. Notably, the average sea surface temperature around Europe was the highest on record, exacerbating marine heatwaves and affecting biodiversity. Glacial melt in the Alps has accelerated, with a 10% volume loss over two years. The Arctic also experienced its warmest summer, particularly impacting regions like Svalbard.

On a positive note, Europe achieved a record in generating electricity from renewable sources in 2023. This transition is supported by increased storm activity, which has enhanced wind power production.

However, the continuous rise in CO2 and CH4 levels emphasizes the critical need for comprehensive strategies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.


Source: Copernicus, European State of the Climate 2023


Key points:

  • Europe is warming at twice the global average rate, making it the fastest-warming continent.
  • There is an increase in extreme weather phenomena, including heatwaves, wildfires, and significant flooding events.
  • There has been an increase in extreme rainfall leading to catastrophic flooding in several European countries, contrasting with severe droughts in southern Europe.
  • The average sea surface temperature for the ocean near Europe in 2023 was the warmest on record, contributing to marine heatwaves.
  • Extensive dry periods marked by severe droughts were followed by excessively wet conditions leading to flooding.
  • Record high river flows in late 2023 resulted in widespread flooding across many parts of Europe.
  • Record numbers of ‘extreme heat stress’ days were reported, affecting human health and productivity.
  • European glaciers, especially in the Alps, continue to melt at a remarkable rate. Over the last two years, glaciers in the Alps lost about 10% of their volume.
  • The Arctic experienced its warmest summer on record, particularly affecting regions like Svalbard.
  • Atmospheric pressure anomalies have influenced weather patterns, contributing to the extremes of droughts and floods.
  • The largest wildfire ever recorded in the EU, particularly in Greece, highlighting increased fire risks due to climate conditions.
  • Fewer days with snow across much of Europe, impacting ecosystems and water resources.
  • There is a significant increase in health issues related to heatwaves and poor air quality from wildfires.
  • Record amounts of Europe’s electricity were generated from renewable sources in 2023.
  • Increased storm activity has resulted in higher potential for wind power production.
  • Levels of key greenhouse gases like CO2 and CH4 hit new highs.
Image credits: Copernicus, European State of the Climate 2023

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