Story on BBC website by
Almost 400 all-time high temperatures were set in the northern hemisphere over the summer, according to an analysis of temperature records. The records were broken in 29 countries for the period from 1 May to 30 August 2019.
A third of the all-time high temperatures were in Germany, followed by France and the Netherlands.
People cooling off during the heatwave in France
The analysis was carried out by the California-based climate institute Berkeley Earth.
Over the summer, there were 1,200 instances of places in the northern hemisphere being the hottest they’d ever been in a given month. The data included measurements from weather stations in the northern hemisphere that had at least 40 years of observations. Some of this data has not yet been subjected to formal review by weather agencies. These reviews, to check for problems that might have produced false readings, sometimes cause a small fraction of the records to be discounted.
Heatwaves in Europe in June and July sent temperatures soaring, smashing a number of local and national records.
France set an all-time high-temperature of 46C, while the UK, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands also reported new highs.
This summer was notable for the very large number of all-time temperature records set in Europe, according to Dr Robert Rohde, Lead Scientist at Berkeley Earth.
“Some places in Europe have histories of weather observations going back more than 150 years, and yet still saw new all-time record highs,” he told the BBC.
The extent of the hot spells on the continent is clearly visible when looking at a breakdown of when the most temperature records were broken. In late July, all-time temperature records were set in a number of European countries including the UK.
Elsewhere, more than 30 all-time records were broken in the US, according to the Berkeley Earth data. In Japan, where 11 people who died as a result of the summer heatwave, 10 all-time temperature record highs were set.
The summer saw 396 all-time high temperatures in total.
Most all-time temperature records in measuring stations covered by the data were broken in 2010, followed by 2003.
The increasing number of record high temperatures are a part of the long-term trend of global warming, said Dr Rohde.
“As the Earth warms, it has become easier for weather stations to set new all-time records. In the past, we would usually only see about 2% of weather stations recording a new record high in any given year,” he explained.
“But, recently, we sometimes see years, like 2019, with 5% or more of the weather stations recording a new all-time record high.”
Further data and charts can be found on the BBC website cited at the beginning of this article.
This chart of global weather hot spots from Jan-June 2019 was produced by Climate Central:
Europe was not the only place to experience extremely hot weather during the year. The following came from Vietnam:
And another bar chart from NASA showing increasing temperatures over the last century: