The summer of 2021 was the warmest for Europe by a “small margin”.

The latest Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) climate bulletin reports that the average June to August temperature for Europe this year was close to 1° above the 1991 to 2020 average.

This makes it the warmest summer in the C3S dataset – however, the previous warmest summers of 2010 and 2018 were only about 0.1° cooler, which is a “small margin”.

Globally, August 2021 was, with August 2017, the joint-third warmest on record at a little over 0.3° warmer than the 1991 to 2020 average.

For Europe, August 2021 was near the 1991-2020 average, but with contrasting conditions across the continent: 

  • Record-breaking maximum temperatures in Mediterranean countries;
  • Warmer-than-average temperatures in the east;
  • Generally below-average temperatures in the north.

The (C3S) routinely publishes monthly climate bulletins reporting on the changes observed in global surface air temperature, sea ice cover and hydrological variables.

All the reported findings are based on computer-generated analyses using billions of measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations around the world.

Climate change

The European Council said that latest data from leading scientists shows “unprecedented changes in the world’s climate”.

According to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global warming is causing “increased, and in some cases irreversible, changes to rainfall patterns, oceans and winds in all regions of the world”.

“For Europe, the report predicts an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including marine heatwaves, and warns that a 2° increase in temperature will have critical effects for nature and people,” the council notes.

“Higher temperatures and intensified weather events will also result in huge costs for the EU’s economy and hamper countries’ ability to produce food. 

“However, according to scientists, human action can change the course of events. Immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and reaching net-zero CO2 emissions have the potential to limit climate change and its effects.”