The highest temperature ever recorded in Europe

The highest temperature ever recorded in Europe f

The World Meteorological Organization confirmed a temperature of 48.8 °C (119.8 °F) in Syracuse, Sicily, on August 11, 2021, as the highest ever recorded in Europe, surpassing the previous record set in 1977.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, has confirmed that the temperature in Syracuse on the Italian island of Sicily reached a historic 48.8 °C (119.8 °F) on August 11, 2021. This temperature is now recognized as the hottest ever recorded in Europe, breaking the previous record of 48 °C (118.4 °F) set in Athens and Elefsina, Greece, on July 10, 1977.

The confirmation of this record came after an extensive investigation by the WMO, as explained by Randall Cerveny, a reporter on climate and weather extremes for the organization. The process involved meticulous care and a thorough analysis of data and equipment.

The WMO committee conducted a detailed review, including an independent analysis and calibration of the Siracusa sensor, its associated datalogger, and solar shield. The temperature sensor from Sicily was sent to the Instituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRiIM) in Italy for rigorous testing. This process adhered to WMO Standards and recommended practices and included an evaluation of the entire system as it was configured during the extreme temperature event. The findings from these tests were consistent and validated the 48.8 °C observation.

Further, the committee noted that a very strong upper-level ridge was present over the region in August 2021, supporting the extreme temperature data. Additional data from reanalyses and nearby sites corroborated the record-setting observation, leading the committee to unanimously deem the 48.8 °C reading as valid.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Europe
Image credit: WMO


1 WMO confirms verification of new continental European temperature record – WMO – January 3, 2024


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