BERLIN (AP) — Europe shattered temperature records this summer, with long periods of sunshine causing sweltering conditions and droughts across much of the continent, but also helping boost much-needed solar power, according to data released Thursday.
The European Commission reported that average temperatures from June to August were 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.7 Fahrenheit) higher on the continent this year compared to the 2021 record. In August alone, the 2018 monthly record was broken by 0.8 C (1.4 F) this year.
“European temperatures were more above average in the east of the continent in August, but were also well above average in the south-west, where they were also high in June and July,” the commission said, citing data collected by its program. Climate Copernicus, which has been using satellites to monitor air temperature since 1991.
Separately, energy think tank Ember reported that the European Union set a record for solar energy this summer, reducing the need to import natural gas.
The group said the 27-nation bloc generated 12% of its electricity from solar power from May to August, up from 9% during the same period last year. Solar energy narrowly surpassed the proportion provided by wind or hydroelectric power, and fell just short of that produced from burning coal.
Ember said that without the 99.4 terawatt hours of electricity provided by solar power, the EU would have had to buy 20 billion cubic meters of gas, costing some 29 billion euros (dollars) over the four-month period. .
Europe is trying to get off Russian gas because of the war in Ukraine, and high fossil fuel prices are expected to last for years.