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Why Europe has seen such a warm October

The position of the jet stream, lower pressure systems in the Atlantic and a warming planet are all making temperatures higher than normal

Saphora Smith
Climate Correspondent
Monday 31 October 2022 16:31 GMT
Rishi Sunak could go to Cop27 climate summit, minister Mark Spencer says

The weather in Europe is unseasonably warm for late October with temperatures in some areas closer to those expected at the end of summer and early autumn.

The position of the jet stream, lower pressure systems in the Atlantic and a warming planet are all making temperatures higher than normal, according to meteorologists.

The warm weather comes ahead of Cop27, a crucial international climate summit in Egypt next week.

Meteorologist Scott Duncan said Europe had “never” observed warmth like this so late in the year and that records had been broken across the continent.

In Austria this weekend the country recorded its warmest October night since records began, with 20.4C the minimum temperature recorded overnight on Saturday making it a “tropical” night in October, he said.

In the UK temperatures have been “well” above average for the time of year, but have yet to break any individual records for warmth in October, according to the Met Office.

A spokesperson for the national weather service said while there was nothing to suggest that this weather pattern wouldn’t have happened without climate change, global heating means the warm spell is warmer than it would have been otherwise.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the UK in October was 29.9C at Gravesend in Kent on 1 October 2011.

While the recent heat has not reached to that level, the Met Office spokesperson said what was notable was how late in October we’ve been seeing temperatures reach into 20C in the south of the UK.

The highest temperature recorded this October was 22.9C, at Kew Gardens on Saturday.

Local residents and tourists enjoy the warm weather at the Saint Francois beach in Ajaccio on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica on October 19, 2022. (AFP via Getty Images)

The warm weather will be welcomed by many hoping not to switch on their heating due to the soaring energy prices and broader cost-of-living crisis, but it is also another reminder that planet earth is warming ahead of the Cop27 summit in Egypt next week.

The United Nations warned last week that there was “no credible” pathway in place to limit temperature rises to 1.5C - the objective of the Paris Agreement. That’s because countries have not come back with ambitious-enough emissions reduction plans ahead of Cop27.

The climate summit is seen as the latest opportunity to course correct and to try to get emissions reductions back on track.

But there is scepticism from some climate activists as to whether it will make a difference.

Greta Thunberg told an event in London last night that climate summits like Cop27 are a “scam” that is “failing” humanity and the planet.

It remains unclear whether or not Britain’s new prime minister will attend the summit with his spokesperson telling reporters on Monday that his decision to skip the summit was now “under review.”

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