Weather tracker: January temperatures break records across Europe | Europe

Exceptionally high temperatures affected large parts Europe Last week, multi-year records in the central and western regions were broken in a number of places. The abnormally high temperatures were due to the orientation of high and low pressure across the continent, which helped push very soft air from the southwest. While the pressure pattern was not particularly unusual, temperatures in many places were unprecedented, and scientists are confident they would not have been reached without the impact of anthropogenic climate change.

Temperatures peaked at 18.9°C in Warsaw, Poland on New Year’s Day, beating the previous record set in 1993 for January by an astounding 5°C. Bilbao, Spain recorded 25.1°C, more than 10°C above the seasonal average, which is typically around 14°C.

Several countries broke all national temperature records for January on January 1, including the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania. In the Czech Republic, 19.6°C was recorded in Javornik and 16.9°C in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. In Belarus, the January temperature record was broken, rising by 4.5°C, in Vysokie – 16.4°C.

Although the impact of high temperatures during the winter months is not as severe compared to summer, the ski industry in the northern and western parts of the Alps has been hit hard. After a cold and snowy start to the season, unusually high temperatures, lack of snowfall and rainfall at high altitude have forced some resorts to close the lower slopes in recent days. The higher resorts have managed to keep most of the slopes open with artificial snow, but this requires a significant amount of water. Recent very mild conditions show how the climate crisis could affect an industry that supports thousands of jobs and contributes around €12bn (£10.6bn) annually to the French economy alone.

Temperatures have dropped across Europe in recent days, but remain moderate to very moderate across much of the mainland. They are expected to remain above normal in many western and central parts of Europe for at least the next few weeks. This is partly due to a stronger-than-usual stratospheric polar vortex. The SPV is a circulation of about 50 km (30 mi) high winds that surrounds the north pole. A stronger-than-usual SPV can help boost the jet stream that often brings milder, wetter weather to northern and western Europe.

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