Europe is seeing an unprecedentedly warm January, with new record temperatures set across the continent.
At least seven countries recorded the hottest days of January at New Year’s Day. Belarus, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Poland have seen temperatures they usually only record in the spring.
In Vysokaje, Berlarus temperatures hit a record 16.4C. This beat the country’s previous January record by 4.5C.
The village of Korbielów in Poland recorded temperatures reaching 19C. The usual average temperature in January is 1C. Temperatures in Javornik, Czech Republic, are 16.6C higher than usual, 19.6C rather than the usual 3C average for this time of year.
Meanwhile, Denmark saw temperatures of 12.6C, Latvia 11.1C, Lithuania 14.6C and the Netherlands 16.9C.
talk to Independent Climate scientist Maximiliano Herrera, who monitors the extreme temperatures and runs the Twitter account @extremetemps, “Given its size, area and how records were broken, it could be considered the most extreme heatwave (in the term anomalies) ever seen in Europe. That’s without factoring length into the equation.”
This means that despite being this far from Europe’s hottest spot ever, the difference between the average temperature at this time of year and the currently recorded temperature is greater than anything seen so far.
Mr. Herrera added: “It was like the 2019 heatwave in France + Benelux or the 2021 heatwave in the UK, but for about 15 countries. First time a heatwave in Europe, with this intensity plus area, it was the largest in North America. matches the extreme heat wave.”
While climate change plays a large role in this unusual weather, the immediate cause is a heat dome placed over Europe.
The polar vortex that caused Britain’s cold December has begun to shrink. This means that milder air from the south and southwest, aka North Africa, rises from the northeast to Europe, causing record-breaking temperatures.
“From France/Benelux to Germany to Poland, we found nighttime temperatures of 17/19C to be pretty much the same. These temperatures would be above a normal midsummer night,” said Mr. Herrera.
Temperatures in England have been less extreme. Temperatures in the North and Scotland are roughly normal for this time of year, according to Dan Stroud, an operational meteorologist at the Met Office. In contrast, temperatures in southern England are above average. A high of 12.3C was recorded in Heathrow on 1 January.
However, Mr Stroud said the UK should not expect temperatures in Europe next month. “We expect temperatures to continue on the warm side of average.” But the main trend should be the continuation of the “unstable and wet weather” that England is experiencing.