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Alps lost record amount of glacier ice last year: EU climate change service

More glacier ice melted in the Alps in 2022 than ever before, the EU climate change service Copernicus has warned, adding that the summer was the warmest ever recorded.

The service’s European State of the Climate Report 2022 (ESOTC 2022) on Thursday showed that 5 cubic kilometres (1.2 cubic miles) of ice were lost last year.

“The climate that awaits us will be very, very different from the climate we grew up in,” Copernicus Director Carlo Buontempo said.

Summer temperatures averaged 1.4 degrees above the reference period of 1991 to 2000. According to Copernicus, temperatures in Europe are rising at about twice the global average.

The summer of 2022 was marked by an enormous drought that affected more than a third of Europe, according to Copernicus, affecting agriculture, transportation and energy supplies.

This was partly because less snow fell than usual in the previous winter and enormous heat waves in the summer exacerbated the situation.

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Extreme heat in Europe

In southern Europe, there was also a significant increase in the number of days considered to be days of extreme heat stress.

In addition, solar radiation in Europe was more intense than at any other time in the past 40 years. This resulted in the above-average potential for solar power production in many parts of the continent.

Experts expect this trend to continue.

The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere did not decrease last year. On the contrary, both the concentration of carbon dioxide and that of the extremely potent climate gas methane increased.

Copernicus’ records go back to 1979. The Climate Change Service also uses data from ground stations, balloons, aircraft and satellites going back to 1950.

Monthly data on temperatures, sea ice cover and other aspects are published using computer analysis.

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