The record-breaking heat was measured in Syracuse, Source: Depositphotos

WMO announced a new temperature record in Europe

WMO announced a new temperature record in Europe

The highest temperature in recorded climate history of the continent was measured in Sicily

Last week, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) officially confirmed that the record for the highest measured temperature had been broken. It happened on 11 August 2021 in Sicily when the automated weather station in Syracuse clocked in at 48.8°C during a summer heatwave in the Mediterranean.

The data, however, took some time to be officially verified by a panel of experts and then published in the International Journal of Climatology.

Most investigations – like this one – are lengthy procedures because of the meticulous care that the WMO undertakes in certifying weather observations. Such painstaking evaluation provides the critical confidence that our global records of temperatures are properly being measured,” explained Prof. Randall Cerveny from the WMO. 

He added that this scientific investigation demonstrated the alarming tendency for continuing high-temperature records to be set in specific regions of the world.

Temperature records are snapshots of the climate trends

Europe’s previous high temperature record was recorded on 10 July 1977 in the Greek capital Athens, when the thermometers indicated 48.0°C. However, back then there was no independent WMO verification like we have with the Sicilian case.

The extremes presented before the WMO for adjudication are ‘snapshots’ of our current climate. It is possible, indeed likely, that greater extremes will occur across Europe in the future.  When such observations are made, new WMO evaluation committees will be formed to adjudicate such observations as extremes,” said Prof. Cerveny.

The previous and the current records have both been included in WMO’s Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes, which as its name indicates contains data on the highest and lowest temperatures, rainfall, heaviest hailstone, longest dry period, maximum gust of wind, longest lightning flash and weather-related mortalities from all across the planet.



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