Europe Just Experienced Its Hottest October on Record

by Ashira Morris, ODP Contributing Writer

Last month was the hottest October in Europe in history. It’s part of the ongoing warming trend brought about by climate change. As Bloomberg reported, Siberia, Alaska, and parts of the South America and African continents also experienced heatwaves last month

This October did not bring a surprising record, but an expected one,” the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service said in a statement. The continent was 1.6 degrees Celsius (2.9 degrees Fahrenheit) above its 30-year historical average, according to Copernicus. This abnormally warm October follows the hottest September on record for the entire world, which also marked the fourth-warmest ocean temperatures. 

Why This Matters: From more intense natural disasters to threatening our food supply, rising temperatures have knock-on effects that impact our daily lives. 

A UN report released last month found that over the last 20 years, there’s been a spike in natural disasters. The report’s authors warned that our planet could become “an inhabitable hell for millions of people” without swift action. In the US this year, there have already been 16 climate change-fueled weather disasters with more than $1 billion in damages, and that’s just the financial hit. This calculation doesn’t take into account Hurricane Delta or Tropical Storm Eta, currently forecast to make landfall as a hurricane in the Florida Keys.

Even more troubling is that these records are being set during a cooling La Niña event. “Remarkably, the record warmth of September 2020 came during the minimum of one of the weakest 11-year solar cycles in the past century,” Yale Climate Connections wrote. All of these records being set at such a low peak for other conditions “underscores the dominant role of human-caused global warming in heating the planet.”

Arctic Ice Still Lacking: These warmer temperatures correlate with the lack of sea ice in the Arctic. This October marks the fourth-consecutive month of a mostly ice-free Northern Sea Route, a shipping channel that runs along Russia’s northern border. In a bit of dark irony, this increasingly-accessible route is used to transport natural gas and oil, whose use will keep melting that ice.

 

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