2020 was a scorcher!

This year is set to become the warmest year ever recorded in Belgium since records started in 1833. So far this year we haven’t had a single day with temperatures below 0°C all day.  Moreover, days with highs of 35°C or more were not uncommon.

2020 was warm, dry and sunny and clearly fits in with a trend.  Weather experts at the Met Office in Ukkel say that in the terms of the Paris Climate Accord the temperatures recorded in 2020 show an increase of 3.3°C compared to pre-industrial times. “Climate change is noticeable” says climate scientist Rozenmien De Troch. Only July was colder than average.  September was 1.5°C hotter than usual.

The five hottest years recorded in Ukkel all occurred during the past decade. 2020 was also a year with a very high average maximum temperature of 16.1°C. Nearly two degrees higher than usual.

Extremes too are becoming more common.  Consider the August heatwave that lasted for 12(!) days and included a high of 35.9°C. The week to 12 August was the warmest ever recorded in Belgium.

Since 1892 highs in excess of 35°C were recorded on 11 days. Six of these days occurred during the past three summers.

During 2020 not a single day with highs below zero was recorded.  This is exceptional.  During an average year some 6.5 such days occur.

With a 3.3°C temperature increase in terms of the Paris Climate Accord that considers the averages of the pre-industrial period Belgium is hotting up more quickly than most other places.  If the oceans that serve as a buffer to warming are included world temperature has already risen by 1.2°C compared to pre-industrial times. Worldwide 2020 is set to enter the Top 3 hottest years.

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