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Record-High Temperature of Nearly 120°F Hits Sicily, Marking Continental Europe’s New Hottest Day on Record

Credits: NPR

In a groundbreaking development, continental Europe has officially set a new record temperature of 119.8°F, surpassing the previous record of 118.4°F registered in Athens and Elefsina, Greece, on July 10, 1977.

The latest record was achieved on August 11, 2021, on the Italian island of Sicily, specifically in Syracuse. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) validated this record after an automated weather station in Syracuse reported the exceptional temperature.

Typically, August is the hottest month for Syracuse, with an average temperature of 80.1°F, while February is the coldest, with an average of 52.3°F. The 2021 reading of nearly 120°F now stands as the highest recorded temperature for continental Europe, encompassing regions that extend into Asia, such as Turkey and Syria.

Record-High Temperature of Nearly 120°F Hits Sicily, Marking Continental Europe's New Hottest Day on Record

2023 was the hottest year on record (Credits: CBS News)

This unprecedented temperature prompted a comprehensive investigation by an international panel of atmospheric scientists affiliated with WMO.

Professor Randall Cerveny, the rapporteur of climate and weather extremes for WMO, emphasized the meticulousness of such investigations to ensure accurate global temperature measurements. Cerveny noted the concerning trend of continually setting high-temperature records in specific regions across the globe.

While the previous high temperature recorded in Greece was based on official government sources, its verification by WMO remains pending. The findings, indicating Sicily as the site of the hottest temperature recorded in continental Europe, have been published in the International Journal of Climatology and WMO’s Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes.

In the broader region encompassing Europe and the Middle East, the archive reveals that Tirat Tsvi, Israel, experienced the hottest recorded day – 129°F in 1942. Notably, the Earth witnessed its warmest year in 2023, with Copernicus, the European Union’s climate agency, reporting a global average temperature of 14.98°C (58.96°F). This surpasses the previous record set in 2016 by 0.17 degrees Celsius.

The investigative committee that confirmed the new high temperature is also examining other weather phenomena, such as whether Tropical Cyclone Freddy in 2023 broke the record for the longest-lasting tropical cyclone.

The relentless rise in temperature records underscores the urgent need for continued climate monitoring and mitigation efforts to address the evolving challenges posed by global warming.

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