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Thursday 23 March 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Alamy Drone image of skiers on the slopes of the ski resort of Rauris in the Austrian state of Salzburgerland, which has reported less snow than normal.
# Climate Change
'Very unusual event': Temperature records shattered in Europe
Ireland has been so far excluded from this, remaining on the cusp of the unseasonably warm weather as a low-pressure system dominates.

RECENT UNSEASONABLY WARM weather across Europe has been dubbed a ‘very unusual event’ by climate experts.

Temperature records for January were broken in several countries in recent days, such as Poland, Denmark, and Czechia, and in some cases by uncharacteristically wide margins.

Of particular note is Visokaye in Belarus, which hit a temperature of 16.4C, a full 4.5C above its previous record.

In Switzerland, a number of stations registered new record temperatures, some of more than a degree in difference, leading to fears of a ‘snow shortage’ at ski resorts.

Poland recorded an unusually high overnight temperature of almost 19C.

Monthly temperature records at close to a thousand stations were broken in Germany.

Ireland has been so far excluded from this, remaining on the cusp of the unseasonably warm weather as a low-pressure system dominates.

The temperature records are subject to verification.

“The statistics speak for themselves,” climatologist and professor at Maynooth University, Peter Thorne told The Journal.

“Normally if you break a record at any time of the year, you break it by tenths of a degree. In many parts of Central Europe, in particular, all-time temperature records for January have been beaten by [several] centigrade, and hundreds of stations have broken all-time records.

This is equivalent, if you like, to a 9-0 drumming in the Premiere League; it’s a very, very unusual event.

The weather is caused by warm air from North Africa and the sub-tropical Atlantic moving over Europe. A low-pressure system – the one Ireland is currently experiencing – is driving this strong movement of air.

This weather in itself is not unusual, but the severity is.

“So the severity of the warmth over Europe is partly driven by how strong that pressure gradient is right now, but that would be a metrological phenomenon that would occur quite frequently. So it’s a combination of things but, fundamentally, North Africa and the subtropical Atlantic are anomalously warm because of climate change.

Europe was already not that cold because of climate change, so undoubtedly the fingerprints of climate change are all over this record.

As for Ireland, it has remained firmly on the boundary between the cold and warm air.

Thorne noted that while it isn’t as warm as the temperatures reached in continental Europe, it is currently ‘anomalously’ warm for time of year.

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