For decades, climatologists around the world have been warning about the consequences of global warming. While the summer of 2022 was just a taste of the next 50 years, it gave many a sense of the scale of the catastrophe to come. But according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), things could be even worse in Europe than elsewhere.
The scientific article ensures, with supporting figures, that temperatures are increasing twice as fast on the old continent as in other regions of the world. In order to reach such conclusions, the report analyzes the evolution of temperatures in Europe over the past 30 years.
Twice as fast heating
The conclusion is clear. Average temperatures in Europe have increased by 0.5 degrees per decade over the period studied by scientists. Today the warming would already be 2.2 degrees compared to 1991. With such an assessment, living conditions in Europe are already above the standard of 1.5°C, the objective set by the international climatological community. and the Paris agreements signed in 2015.
According to estimates made by this same WMO report, the summer of 2022 was the driest in its last 500 years. You have to go back to the time of the Crusades to know such a temperature on the old continent. In the long list of consequences linked to global warming, the melting of the ice is one of the most visible phenomena.
In less than 30 years (1997-2021), the Alpine glaciers have lost 30 meters in thickness. An ultra-rapid warming that leaves no doubt as to its origin. For Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the WMO, the situation is already very critical. But as the world warms more slowly, scientists are trying to understand “the European anomaly.” »
Samantha Burgess, deputy director of climate change services at Copernicus, explains that the proximity between Europe and the Arctic could be the cause of this accelerated warming.
A disadvantageous geographical position
The Arctic is by far the fastest warming region of the globe. But there again the scientific world cannot explain it. For Samantha Burgess the most probable hypothesis is that the melted ice around the Arctic plays the role of additional heating. As the pack ice disappears, the surrounding water heats up causing the pack ice to melt ever faster.
A vicious circle that would not affect Antarctica in the same way. The ice continent has a thick layer of rock in its basement to protect itself. In the wake of the warming of the Arctic, Europe is therefore suffering the consequences of global warming.
According to the WMO report, even if greenhouse gas emissions were to stop overnight, temperatures would continue to rise for years to come. The Copernicus group explains in its press release that “The frequency and intensity of hot extremes have increased over the past few decades and are projected to continue to increase, regardless of the greenhouse gas emissions scenario. »
A change is still possible
Despite this observation, the scientific group calls for collective awareness. If the consequences of global warming are already there, there is still time to limit its effects. This requires a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale.
On this point Europe is one of the good students, the report (carried out by a group belonging to the EU) ensures that greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 31% between 1990 and 2020. The objective is to continue on this dynamic and achieve a 55% reduction by 2030.