An unusual summer in Europe

The first part of the summer has not seen significant heatwaves over much of the continent. If we think of the unusual heat that broke all-time-records in June 2019 in France, Germany and N Italy, this year the weather conditions are completely different.

We can see (Figure1) that all the Mediterranean region, W Europe and central/E Russia have experienced temperatures below or equal to the climatological average (1981-2010). The only areas that have seen significant positive anomalies are the E Balkans and Scandinavia (up to 5/8°C above the average).

Figure1. June 2020 temperature anomaly in Europe. (Source Copernicus)

The cooler temperatures in Southern Europe are caused by a very weak contribution of heat from N Africa, which expansion towards the Mediterranean has been blocked by several perturbations of the Jet Stream towards the mid-European latitudes. This has brought frequent rain and changeable weather conditions across W/S Europe. In addition, the Azores High (once a common characteristic of the central/Southern European summer that has been “replaced” by the N African High in the last two decades) has influenced the weather across most of the continent, limiting the increase in temperatures (as it brings tropical maritime air instead of continental from the Sahara).

Meanwhile, in Northern and E Europe, strong, persisting anticyclonic conditions have pushed very warm air up to the Arctic region causing record-breaking temperatures (34/35°C observed in Scandinavia).

Also July has not seen any significant hot event in central/W Europe so far, as many Europeans are experiencing a “cooler” summer compared with the most recent ones.

Looking into this weekend and next week, warmer conditions are expected over N Scandinavia and the UK, before cooler air from the N Atlantic should bring temperatures back to the average (or slightly below). Across Southern Europe, frequent thunderstorms and very warm temperatures are expected, but until mid-next week there is no risk of significant heatwaves.

It seems that for once we can enjoy a more liveable summer (until it lasts), though it is worth reminding that in many other regions of the N Hemisphere many records have been broken (record-high temperatures in Canada and Siberia to cite a few).

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I am Edoardo and I am passionate about weather analysis and forecasing. I would like to share my knowledge and to learn more with others (both International and Italian community).

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