State of the Climate in Europe 2021

World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
Posted on: 2/15/2023 - Updated on: 2/16/2023

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The WMO State of the Climate in Europe 2021, is the first edition of climate reports to be published annually by the World Meteorological Organization’s Regional Association for Europe (WMO-RA6) and the European Union's Earth observation programme, Copernicus. The report provides the status of key climate indicators using the WMO and partner organizations operational monitoring systems and latest data and information on impacts, risks and policy from United Nations (UN) agencies. It addresses specific physical science, socio-economic and policy aspects that are relevant to WMO-RA6 domain and responds to Members needs in the fields of climate monitoring, climate change and climate services. The report also makes use of latest findings of the IPCC reports and Copernicus European State of the Climate (ESOTC).

As the risks and impacts of climate change become increasingly apparent in day-to-day life, the need and the appetite for climate intelligence grow, and rightly so. With this report we aim to bridge the gap between the data and the analysis to provide science-based but accessible information that is ‘decision-ready’, across sectors and professions.

In this report you will see that 2021 was yet another year of rising greenhouse gas concentrations and record-breaking temperatures, as well as one of severe storms, flooding, heatwaves and drought events in Europe. With the impact that such climate extremes and events have had on life and property, society is more aware than ever of the risks posed by climate change and, I believe, wants action in anticipation that such events will become more common and more intense in the future. At the same time, mitigating and adapting to climate change has introduced a stronger dependency on climate and its variability. The availability of detailed information about climate trends and impacts will become increasingly valuable to enable effective action in economic and societal areas such as energy, transport, agriculture and health – and those working in them – and this report makes an important contribution in this field.

European society is vulnerable to climate variability and change, but Europe is also at the forefront of the international effort to mitigate climate change and to develop innovative solutions to adapt to the new climate Europeans will have to live with. To meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and their targets, to properly support climate policies and planning, and to ensure that our actions are based on facts, European Union (EU) initiatives such as the European Green Deal, the Climate Law, the Mission on climate adaptation and the European Climate Risk Assessment all require good quality information about the present and future climate to be operationally produced, curated and distributed. The EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, operational since 2018, provides state-of-the-art climate monitoring data and tools for use by governments, public authorities and private entities around the world, and has provided key support to efforts in this direction.

Following the publication of our European State of the Climate report earlier this year, we are pleased to now work with our WMO colleagues in the authoring of this joint report, which summarizes the current understanding of the key climatic events of 2021 and helps put those events and their impact in the context of climate change. The findings are indeed dire, but our hope is that this report, with its evidence, with its insight and coming as it does just before COP27, is a timely and invaluable tool for the continued work to reduce emissions and make progress on our collective commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Affiliated Organizations

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 193 Member States and Territories. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), the roots of which were planted at the 1873 Vienna International Meteorological Congress.

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