June third warmest on record

With much of Europe continuing to experience record-breaking temperatures this week, and the UK set to experience over 40 degrees Celsius for the first time, a new study has revealed that the globe just had the third warmest June on record.

The analysis, which comes via Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, also shows that Antarctic sea ice was the lowest on record for the month of June.

According to the report, temperatures averaged over the last twelve-month period were also:

  • above average over most land areas and the majority of the ocean surface
  • markedly above the 1991-2020 average in a region stretching from northern Arabia to western Siberia, and over northern Siberia, central North America, north-western and central Africa,  East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea
  • above to average over much of Europe
  • below average over some land areas, including parts of northern Canada and Alaska, north-eastern South America, southern Africa, Australia and Antarctica
  • below average over the eastern equatorial Pacific, where the La Niña event that peaked in late 2020 re-intensified later in 2021 and continued into 2022
  • also below average over the Chukchi Sea, parts of the eastern North Pacific and several oceanic areas in the southern hemisphere.

The monthly report by Copernicus/ECMWF (European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts)  is part of international network of climate monitoring activities by the World Meteorological Organisation WMO community which underpin WMO’s ‘State of the Global Climate’ reports. 

European heat

The monthly mean temperature for Europe was the second highest on record. Southern parts of the continent from the Iberian Peninsula across France and into Italy most affected. Daily maximum temperatures in Spain, France and Italy  soared above 40°C and the extreme heat exacerbated the ongoing drought conditions in the Po river basin.

Numerous June temperature records were broken across France and Spain with Biarritz, France, and San Sebastián, Spain, being two prime examples.

This heat also extended across North Africa, where Tunisia equalled its monthly temperature record. Also, at Banak in northern Norway, a daily maximum temperature of 32.5°C was recorded, which if confirmed, would be a new June record for the county in which it is situated.

Above-average temperatures were also found across Siberia and large parts of Asia, where heatwaves in central and northern China led to increased electricity demand. Temperatures of greater than 35°C were recorded for five days in a row in Tokyo, which is a record. In North America, high temperatures occurred in Texas, with Houston having its hottest June on record; San Antonio suffered from this extreme heat too. The Middle East also saw above-average temperatures.

Drought

In June 2022, a large part of Europe experienced lower-than-average precipitation, including over the UK, Ireland, Italy, much of the Iberian Peninsula and over a large region stretching from the northern Balkans across eastern Europe and over north-western Russia. In the Po Valley, in northern Italy, the continuing drought is affecting river transport, agriculture and energy management Conversely, precipitation was higher than average over most of France, Iceland, regions of central Europe, western Russia, the southern Balkans and Turkey, according to the Copernicus Hydrological Bulletin.

The Deutscher Wetterdienst, which is one of WMO’s regional climate monitoring centres, conducted a detailed analysis of the drought which, in some parts, dates back to winter.

In the central Mediterranean region, spring was the fourth driest since 1901, in Germany almost all springs since 2009 have been too dry.

“Drought might also prevail for the next three months in large parts of Europe, ” it said. In the long term, depending on the extent of future global warming, precipitation in the Mediterranean region will decrease. In summer, there is a risk of drought spreading to Central and especially Western Europe in the future.

Sea ice

Temperatures in June were much higher than average over large parts of Antarctica. Antarctic sea ice extent reached 12.6 million km2 on average, 1.2 million km2 (9%) below the 1991-2020 average for June. This is the lowest extent for June in the 44-year satellite data record and is marginally lower than the value for June 2019 (second-lowest), according to the Copernicus report.

The report said it is noteworthy that 2019 and 2022 were separated by near-average June values in 2020 and 2022, highlighting the large interannual variability that has often characterised the Antarctic sea ice data record since 1979.

The monthly average Arctic sea ice extent in June 2022 reached 11.2 million km2, 0.3 million km2 (or 3%) below the 1991-2020 average for June. This value ranks 12th lowest for June in the satellite record, which starts in 1979, and comes after a near-average extent in May 2022.

The monthly mean temperature for Europe was the second highest on record. Southern parts of the continent from the Iberian Peninsula across France and into Italy most affected. Daily maximum temperatures in Spain, France and Italy  soared above 40°C and the extreme heat exacerbated the ongoing drought conditions in the Po river basin.

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