Shocking satellite images have revealed grimy brown hills surrounding pristine, snow-covered ski resorts as record-breaking January temperatures hit across Europe.
Low snowfall and unusually warm winter weather have disappointed skiers and holidaymakers hoping for a white winter trip to Europe’s lower mountain resorts.
Instead they are facing patches of grass, along with stones and dirt Some resorts were forced to close..
Many countries have already broken new January temperature records as a wave-like pattern in the jet stream brought warm air further south, exacerbated by human-caused global warming.
A weather station at Delamont in the Jura range on the border with France already set a new January temperature record of 18.1C (about 65F) on the first day of the year, 2.5 degrees Celsius higher than the previous record.
Professor Liz Bentley, chief executive of the Royal Meteorological Society, said: “There are eight countries across Europe that have broken their January records and a few of them have outright broken them – not just a few. [tenths of] Degrees
“In Poland, it broke that record by four degrees. That’s a huge amount.”
Poland’s capital Warsaw saw 18.9C (66F) on Sunday, 4C above the previous average. Other countries with new January records are Belarus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Latvia and the Netherlands.
But extreme heat in winter has a very different outcome than in summer, Professor Bentley said.
In the summer months, extreme heat will bring “a dramatic increase in mortality,” he said.
But in the winter, “the impacts are greater with the impact on the ski industry – hence, the lack of snow – and on the water supply – hence, the disappearance of glaciers – but also the lack of water, due to drought at higher altitudes.” Evaporation increases. Temperature.”
While snow has fallen on the slopes above 2,000m, only two runs are currently open in low-altitude Morzine, with Ax 3 Domaines forced to close on Saturday after a few weeks.
Meteorologists are calling it an extreme weather event.
It may be the middle of winter, but Europe is in the midst of a heat wave.
From Latvia and Belarus in the east to the Netherlands in the west, eight countries broke January temperature records.
In Warsaw, Poland, it reached 18.9C on New Year’s Day, smashing the previous record by four degrees.
Temperature records are usually beaten by tenths of a degree.
This time they have broken down over such a large area that meteorologists are calling it an extreme weather event.
The heat wave is caused by a large mass of warm air originating from North Africa, which itself has been unusually warm for several weeks.
This is reflected in sea temperatures off the coast of West Africa and in the Mediterranean Sea.
It’s currently two or three degrees above normal – and it’s acting as a giant radiator, warming the air and adding to the effects of climate change.
All that warm air has been sucked into Europe by a change in the jet stream – the high-altitude winds that wrap around the Northern Hemisphere.
Warmer this time of year means lower energy bills, so it’s probably welcomed by everyone except skiers.
But a similar shift in the jet stream was behind extreme heat last summer, which increased deaths and overwhelmed our infrastructure.
Winter or summer, it’s a warm world.
2022 was the warmest year on record for the UK, Ireland and some other European countries.
And 2023 has already begun.
Professor Bentley said there was “very high confidence” that climate change was making such extreme heat events more frequent and breaking more records.
“And they tend to be longer events where they don’t just last a few days, they can last for weeks on end.”
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