Climate anomalies over the past decade are a clear indicator of the growing climate crisis. Dr. Simeon Matev from Klimateka, Doctor of Climatology and Assistant Professor at the Department of “Climatology, Hydrology and Geomorphology” of the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, analyzes what is happening on a global scale and some of the results are worrying.
According to the summary information from the European Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), the average air temperature in September 2022 globally was 0.35 °C higher than the new climatological period 1991 – 2020 and 0. 55 °C warmer than the previous climatological period 1981–2010.
Record temperatures around the globe
Globally, September 2022 was the fourth warmest September on record, despite below-normal temperatures in some large areas. Most of North America is above normal temperatures – USA and Canada are holding the records for the absolute maximum September temperatures.
With improved September records were also the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, where the temperature approached 40 °C. The capital of the state of Utah in the USA, Salt Lake City, also already has a new September record – 41.7 °C. An interesting fact is that this value is as much as the city’s absolute record measured since air temperature statistics were kept, and even more remarkable is that this record-equaling took place in an autumn month, which is September.
Anomalies were also detected in Hong Kong, where a temperature of 35.9 °C was measured on September 13 – the highest temperature recorded in September in the weather station’s history.
Greenland stands out with the largest positive anomaly on a monthly basis, where average monthly temperatures for September are about 8 °C higher than normal. At the beginning of the month, the transport of air masses was from the south and southwest and much of the island warmed to extreme temperatures for the region.
Temperatures in Europe
August was the warmest month on the Old Continent, and September 2022 the coldest September since 2013. This is because the month was measured to be 0.35 °C colder than the norm for the period 1991 – 2020. Over the past 10 years, average temperatures in Europe have risen by 0.39 °C.
Regionally, most of Central and Eastern Europe have average temperatures below normal, with the anomaly increasing in the northeast towards Belarus, the Baltic States and Finland. In contrast, Iceland, Western Europe, the Mediterranean region and the eastern regions of the Balkans have above average temperatures.
The situation in Bulgaria
In September 2022, average temperatures in most of Western and Northern Bulgaria were around and below normal, and in the southern parts of the country and in many places in Eastern Bulgaria they were above normal. According to data from some NIMH stations, as well as from standardly located automatic stations, the value of the deviations compared to the period 1991-2020 in the negative direction were the largest in the southwest, and in the positive direction – in the east.
For the last 22 years, we have more cases of months with a negative anomaly, and in the period 2002 – 2009, September has only subnormal or near-normal anomalies. After 2011, positive anomalies predominate, with the value of the highest positive anomalies exceeding more than twice the value of the highest negative anomalies.
Precipitation and early cold
At the beginning of September, intense rainfall reached extreme 24-hour totals of more than 100 mm in places in Central and North-Eastern Bulgaria and led to flooding in some rivers, with huge material damage, both to infrastructure and private properties. At the end of the second and the beginning of the third ten-day period, there was a significant cooling, which caused snowfall in the middle and high parts of the mountains and the first negative temperature values for autumn in some plain areas as well.
Sofia again improved several “cold” daily records, and on September 24, it also recorded one of its earliest frosts. The first autumn frosts were also recorded on the high fields. Cold days were quickly replaced by summery but stormy weather. Atypically strong for this time of the year, thunderstorms crossed the country from the southwest to the northeast, and on their way, in addition to short-term but torrential rains, they also left damage caused by lightning, including and three dead and several wounded.
The state of the ice sheet
In the Arctic, sea ice extent for September 2022 was 11% less than the 1991-2020 average. This value places this year’s September in 11th place in the ranking for smallest sea ice extent. The leader in this ranking is undoubtedly 2012, when the subnormal exceeds 30%, and the year with the most ice is 1980, when there was more than 37% of the area with ice cover compared to the norm. It should be noted that this ranking has been conducted since 1979, when satellite observation of the ice sheet began.
In Antarctica, after several months of record or near-record low sea ice extent, in September 2022 the sea ice extent reached 18.5 million km2, which is 3% below the 1991-2020 average for the months of September. These values rank the month outside the top 5 of years with the least Antarctic sea ice. The years with the least ice were 1986, 2002 and 2017.
In September 2022, relatively large areas with negative average temperature anomalies are striking, especially compared to the previous few months. However, the month is again above normal, and not only is it above normal, it is the 4th warmest average temperature.
There are places, including our country, affected by extreme weather events. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that no one is safe from extreme events. In addition to actions in the direction of climate neutrality, the Secretary-General also called for a doubling of adaptation funds – as an example of an effective first step, he pointed to early warning systems for natural disasters, which, however, are still lacking in developing countries. The reason for his words is a report by the World Meteorological Organization, according to which “We are going in the wrong direction.”