Warming temperatures in Europe have risen more than double the global average, according to a new report published on Wednesday.
The report was issued jointly by the UN's World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service.
"Temperatures over Europe have warmed significantly over the 1991-2021 period, at an average rate of about +0.5 °C per decade," the WMO said in a statement.
Europe's Alpine glaciers melting
The rise in temperatures resulted in Alpine glaciers losing 30 meters in ice thickness from 1997 to 2021.
Greenland's ice sheet was also found to be melting and was contributing to an acceleration in rising sea levels.
"Europe presents a live picture of a warming world and reminds us that even well-prepared societies are not safe from impacts of extreme weather events," WMO chief Petteri Taalas said in a statement.
During the summer of 2021, a melt event in Greenland saw "the first-ever recorded rainfall at its highest point," the WMO said.
Weather related events had resulted in hundreds of fatalities which had directly affected more than half a million people and caused damage in excess of $50 billion, with around 84% of these events being floods or storms.
The deadliest extreme climate events in Europe were found to be heatwaves, particularly in western and southern Europe.
EU countries reduce emissions by 31% — WMO
It wasn't all bad news with the report pointing out that a number of countries in Europe had successfully cut greenhouse gas emissions.
In the EU, greenhouse gas emissions had decreased 31% between 1990 and 2020.
"On the mitigation side, the good pace in reducing greenhouse gases emissions in the region should continue and the ambition should be further increased. Europe can play a key role towards achieving a carbon neutral society by the middle of the century to meet the Paris Agreement," said Taalas, referring to a 2015 international climate deal.
The report included input from national meteorological and hydrological services, climate experts, regional bodies along with UN partner agencies. It comes ahead of the annual UN Climate Change summit, COP27, in Sharm-El Sheikh, Egypt.
kb/es (AFP, Reuters)