Reaction: In 2023 Europe suffered severe heatwaves and floods, a report on the impacts of climate change says

The Copernicus Climate Change Service, together with the World Meteorological Organisation, publishes the report on the state of Europe's climate in 2023. According to their findings, last year was one of the hottest on record, with a record number of extreme heat stress days and widespread flooding. According to their calculations, heat-related mortality has increased by 30 % over the last 20 years.

22/04/2024 - 04:00 CEST
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Copernicus - Cabré (EN)

Anna Cabré

Climate physicist, oceanographer and research consultant at the University of Pennsylvania

Science Media Centre Spain

Copernicus, the European Union's Earth observation programme, in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), has published the report "The State of Europe's Climate 2023". Europe is the fastest warming continent, warming twice as fast as the global average, which implies further increases in temperature, extreme weather events (rainfall and droughts) or fires.   

As anticipated, last year was particularly warm across the region, both on land and at sea, especially in the maritime areas surrounding Spain. Although risk perception remains low, the direct and indirect effects of heat on human health are devastating in most of the region, especially in Spain and in cities. In Europe, heat-related mortality has increased by about 30 % over the last 20 years. There was also an increase in precipitation and river flow in Europe, although these figures were lower in the Mediterranean region of the Iberian Peninsula and in the south. There was less snow, loss of glaciers in the Alps and sea ice in the Arctic (especially in summer), and an increase in fires in the Arctic area.   

In terms of electricity generation, a record 43% came from renewable sources, compared to 36% in 2022. Europe needs to accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources. As the report highlights in its public policy section, it is also crucial to invest considerably more in adaptation and resilience measures, especially in the area of health. This means working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the local governments, and it means strengthening the integration of health into the national adaptation plans of the Paris Agreement. 

The author has not responded to our request to declare conflicts of interest
European State of the Climate 2023 (ESOTC 2023)
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