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Swiss cities enjoy record sunny January, but what’s next for winter?

Unlike the same period in 2019, when temperatures fell below 8° C in some regions of Switzerland, this January has been one of the mildest months on record.

Swiss cities enjoy record sunny January, but what's next for winter?
FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Whether it is due to global warming or another climatic phenomenon, January of this year has been decidedly un-winterlike in Switzerland

In many locations, January has been unseasonably warm and had record sunshine, according to a report by Switzerland’s official weather service, Météosuisse.

In Geneva, for example, the sun shone for 111 hours — one day more than the previous record for January, which dates to 2008. Bern benefited from even more sunshine: 129 hours throughout the month. 

The country also had very little precipitation in the first days of the year.

But on the night of January 27th to 28th, heavy rain swept across Switzerland. Winds of over 120 kilometres per hour have been recorded in some places, increasing to 150 kilometres per hour at altitude. 

READ MORE: Switzerland tumbles down climate performance ratings

What kind of weather can we expect in February?

While long-term forecasts cannot be made, daytime temperatures for the next two weeks are likely to range from 2°C to 14°C in Zurich, from 4°C to 15 °C in Geneva,  and 7°C to 19°C in Ticino

So it looks like mild winter is expected to continue in Switzerlands, at least for the near future.

 

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WILDFIRES

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.

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