France endures record heat wave, rainfall deficit in 2022: weather service

The almost bare slopes of the ski resort of Luchon-Superbagnières in southwest France, January 5, 2023 – Copyright AFP MANDEL NGAN

The National Weather Bureau said on Friday that France experienced its highest average temperature and lowest rainfall on record in 2022.

The average temperature for the year was 14.5 degrees Celsius (58.1 Fahrenheit), “far above the previous 2020 record” of 14.07 degrees Celsius, Meteo France said in a statement.

The heat was “a symptom of climate change,” he added.

The country also experienced a “record rainfall deficit” 25 percent below the multi-year average, the lowest since 1989, the meteorological office added.

Like much of Western Europe, France has endured a harsh summer with record temperatures and wildfires that has brought renewed attention to climate change.

Autumn and winter were also exceptionally mild, with rainfall and warm temperatures turning normally icy ski runs in the Alps and Pyrenees into muddy expanses.

French President Emmanuel Macron has faced criticism from some climate scientists this week for his New Year’s address to the nation over the weekend, in which he suggested last year’s drought and heat came as a surprise.

Speaking of the overlapping problems engulfing the country, he said: “Who could have predicted the wave of inflation that followed? Or a climate crisis with spectacular consequences again this summer in our country?”

“Who could have predicted the climate crisis?” tweeted scientist and geologist Gonery Le Cozanet.

“It’s funny, it’s one of my favorite jokes to make fun of politicians who have lost touch with reality.”

Le Cosanne is a staff member of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which warned in February that the time to secure a “livable future” for everyone on earth is almost over.

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