New report on European climate confirms 2019 as warmest year

22 April 2020

European State of the Climate 2019: temperature anomaly chart

A detailed report on the state of the European climate has confirmed that 2019 was the warmest year on record, continuing a trend that means 11 of the 12 warmest years in Europe have occurred since 2000.

The European State of the Climate 2019 report was released by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) implemented by ECMWF on behalf of the European Commission.

Key findings include that

  • 2019 was the warmest year on record for Europe
  • in Europe, 11 of the 12 warmest years have occurred since 2000
  • three periods of exceptionally warm weather occurred in February, June and July, leading to record-breaking high temperatures
  • the long-term view shows a clear warming trend across the last four decades
  • one of the wettest Novembers on record brought precipitation of up to four times the normal amount in western and southern Europe
  • the European Arctic was colder than in recent years, but a summer heatwave caused record surface ice melting in Greenland
  • Globally, greenhouse gases continue to rise.

“This latest annual report is compiled by C3S from its free-to-use data, with contributions from a wide range of scientific partners and associates, including other Copernicus services,” says C3S Director Carlo Buontempo.

“As part of this family, we are proud to put together useful climate information created from raw data which offers highly valuable insights to all sectors of society from policymakers and business leaders to scientists and individuals.”

Temperature and rainfall

In 2019, some parts of Europe experienced summer temperatures as much as 3℃ to 4℃ higher than normal. Intense heatwaves in June and July led to record-breaking temperatures in some European countries, including France and Germany.

European State of the Climate 2019: temperature anomaly chart

Mean surface air temperature anomalies for 2019. Nearly all of Europe was warmer than the long-term average.

European State of the Climate 2019: annual temperature anomaly chart

Long-term surface air temperature anomaly evolution. In 2019, the European annual temperature anomaly reached its highest value yet compared to the long-term average.

In addition, summer drought conditions affected vegetation cover in many parts of the continent, as illustrated by the Leaf Area Index anomaly charts below.

European State of the Climate 2019: Leaf Area Index charts

Monthly Leaf Area Index (LAI) anomalies for June, July, September and October 2019 as estimated from satellites. Anomalies are given as a z-score comparing PROBA-V sensor data for 2019 to a climatology based on the SPOT-VGT sensor data for the 19982014 reference period. Data source: SPOT-VGT/PROBA-V. Credit: Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S)/VITO.

Overall, however, rainfall was close to average across the continent for the year as a whole, after heavy rainfall events in western and southern Europe towards the end of the year.

European State of the Climate 2019: precipitation anomaly chart

Precipitation anomalies (mm) for October to December 2019 relative to the October to December average for the 1981-2010 reference period. Data source: E-OBS. Credit: Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S)/KNMI.

The global picture

Globally, climate indicators show that the most recent five-year mean is 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels, and across Europe it is almost 2.0°C above the level seen in the second half of the 19th century.

The aim of the 2015 Paris Agreement, ratified by 188 countries, is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2.0°C above pre-industrial levels and to make a concerted effort to limit the increase to 1.5°C.

In 2019, concentrations of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) continued to increase, in line with a trend established over recent decades.

Further information

Further details including a summary of the report are available on the C3S website. Additional resources for media are also available