Thursday, July 4th 2019, 6:13 pm - Temperatures were up to 6-10°C above normal
Data provided by the Copernicus Climate Change Service shows that the average temperature in Europe for June 2019 was higher than any other June on record. Compared to the average period of 1981-2010, this June was 0.1°C higher than the previous one, which was set in 2016 when a strong El Niño event affected our planet.
Record-breaking temperatures were registered in a number of countries across Europe and on average temperatures were more than 2°C above the normal.
Map 1: Map showing the anomalies in temperature (°C) estimated from ERA5 during the 5-day period of 25-29 June 2019. (Credit: ECMWF, Copernicus Climate Change Service).
Most of the record temperatures occurred in southwest Europe as very warm air was drawn in for days from Northern Africa into portions of northeast Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, northern Italy and the Czech Republic. The end of the month was so unseasonably warm compared to the 30-year reference from 1981-2010 that temperatures were between 6 to 10°C above normal.
A low pressure area centred west of Spain and Portugal was blocked from the main atmospheric circulation pattern for 4 to 5 days, which generated a steady southerly wind flow into the region. The African heat was then amplified by clear skies and intense early summer heating, which skyrocketed temperatures into the 40°C mark across many areas of the previously mentioned countries.
Figure 1: Average June temperatures (°C) for Europe (top) and globally (bottom) from 1979 to 2019, shown as differences from long-term average values for 1981 to 2010. June 2019 is highlighted. Data source: ERA5 (credit: ECMWF, Copernicus Climate Change Service).
Although this heat episode was not as persistent as that recorded in 2018, it was very intense. Europe as a whole was on average 1°C above the previous June record set back in 1999 and about 1°C higher than expected from recent decade trends. Looking back at temperature data since 1850, the June 2019 European-average temperature was more than 3°C higher than the average for 1850-1900.
It is still too early to attribute this intense June 2019 heat across Europe to climate change, but we do know that heat waves of this sort are expected to occur more frequently across different regions of Earth as greenhouse gas emissions continue to escalate.
THE NORTH AMERICAN IMPACT
While climate data proved that this past June was the warmest June on record globally, much of North America experienced a chilly June. Temperatures trended anywhere from a couple of degrees below seasonal to 4 degrees C below normal near the Great Lakes. including Ontario and parts of the U.S. Midwest.
Areas that experienced a warmer than normal June were Alaska and parts of Nunavut including the majority of Baffin Island.