Europe and the polar regions of the Earth suffered the most from global warming in 2022.
That’s after the year was fifth warmest since records began, a study from the EU’s Climate Monitoring Section Copernicus has found.
Temperatures in Europe increased by twice the average witnessed during the past 30 years – with both Polar regions seeing heat levels rise up to 2°C above the average between 1991 and 2020.
The trend has been a recent one, with the last eight years now making up the eight warmest on record.
Samantha Burgess from Copernicus said: “We’re already experiencing climate change now. The heatwaves that we saw in Europe over the summer – but also the spring, the autumn.
“Many people will remember the heatwave that we had over the New Year’s period as well. So, we’re seeing heatwaves, not only in the summer but in the rest of the seasons.”
Europe has had the highest temperature increases of any continent in the last three decades, with the researchers linking this to land areas warming faster than seas – but also its proximity to the Arctic, which is warming at four times the worldwide average.
Melting ice is revealing darker parts of land and sea, which absorb more sunlight and warm the region, the scientists explain.
Records were broken for both continents, with the UK, France, Spain and Italy all experiencing their hottest years ever.
Ms Burgess continued: “If we do a fairly simple linear extrapolation, and if we look at the current level of emissions and current level of warming, we will hit 1.5°C sometime in the early 2030.
“So, we’re already living on borrowed time effectively and borrowed emissions as well.”