According to the EU climate change service Copernicus, more glacier ice than ever before melted in the European Alps last year. The glaciers of the Alps lost more than five cubic kilometers of ice, the Reading-based service announced on Thursday. If you were to press this mass of ice into a cube, the edges of the cube would be around five and a half times as high as the Eiffel Tower.

The glacier ice is not the only record that the service found for 2022: Europe also experienced the warmest summer ever recorded. On average, it was 1.4 degrees above the reference period from 1991 to 2000. According to Copernicus, temperatures in Europe are rising around twice as fast as the global average.

“The climate that awaits us will be very, very different from the climate in which we grew up,” Copernicus director Carlo Buontempo told journalists. It is all the more important to collect data and knowledge about it and to draw the right conclusions.

Enormous heat waves in summer

The summer was marked by a severe drought that, according to Copernicus, affected more than a third of Europe and affected agriculture, transport and energy supplies. This was partly due to the fact that less snow fell than usual in the previous winter and enormous heat waves in summer exacerbated the situation.

In southern Europe, the number of days that are considered days with extreme heat stress that is considered dangerous to health also increased significantly – the Copernicus service measures these days in different temperature levels.

In addition, solar radiation in Europe was more intense than at any other time in the past 40 years. This led to an above-average potential for the production of solar power in many parts of the continent. Experts assume that this trend will continue.

The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere did not decrease last year either – on the contrary. Both the concentration of carbon dioxide and that of the extremely potent greenhouse gas methane increased. “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is imperative to prevent the worst impacts of climate change,” said Copernicus Vice Director Samantha Burgess.

The Copernicus records go back to 1979. The climate change service also uses data from ground stations, balloons, airplanes and satellites going back to 1950. Data on temperatures, sea ice cover and other aspects are published monthly using computer analysis.