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CLIMATE CRISIS

IN NUMBERS: How hot has France’s record-breaking 2022 been?

October 2022 looks set to smash a long-standing meteorological record in France; with a mild weekend to round off the month, it’s expected to become the hottest October ever recorded. That's just one statistic from a year when temperatures consistently broke records.

IN NUMBERS: How hot has France's record-breaking 2022 been?
(Photo by OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE / AFP)

The mercury passed 31C in Mont-de-Marsan (Landes) on Thursday. It hit 30C in Biarritz, 29C in Bordeaux, 24C in Nantes  – and even rose as high as 22C in Lille, northern France.

October’s temperature highs came hot on the heels of a record-breaking Summer and a very mild Spring.

Temperatures over the summer may not have smashed the all-time records set in 2019, but overall 2022 was a very warm year.

2

So far this year, with just November and December to go, only two months – January and April – saw average temperatures that climatologists in France consider ‘normal’ or ‘cool’. For the rest of the year, temperatures have been higher than expected.

75

The percentage figure of days with temperatures above seasonal norms in France in 2022. So far this year, three out of every four days has seen above-average temperatures.

40

On June 16th, temperatures in the Hérault passed the 40C mark, the earliest date that temperature has been recorded in France. The hottest temperature ever recorded in France was 45.9C, a record that was set in Hérault in 2019.

113

The number of consecutive days in which the temperature in Marseille topped 25C earlier this year. 

60

Residents in Nice endured 60 consecutive nights this summer – two months – in which the temperature never went below 20C.

11.67

On June 18th, 2022, the highest officially recorded temperature in France was 36.18C – a whopping 11.67C above normal temperatures for the time of year. On January 1st, temperatures were 5.8C higher than expected.

22.67

The nationwide average temperature in France over the summer months of June, July and August. It’s slightly down on the record 23.1C recorded for the same period in 2003, and makes 2022 the second hottest summer ever recorded in France.

33

Days of heatwave across the country in the summer alone.

30

As we head into November, drought alerts remain in force in 30 departments in France. In the Alpes-Maritimes, water restrictions were recently extended until November 15th. Some departments may extend water restrictions into 2023.

85

July 2022 was the driest ever recorded, with rain levels 85 percent lower than normal. Over the summer, rainfall levels were 25 percent down … and that’s including the storms at the end of June.

6

How long, in months, some scientists expect ‘summer’ to last in 2100.

“With global warming, summers are encroaching on autumn and spring,” said Christine Berne, climatologist at Météo-France, on BFMTV.com.

Yes, the record-breaking 2022 temperatures are part of the overall trend of a heating planet, say scientists, with the climate crisis causing unusual weather patterns and an increasing frequency of extreme weather events around the globe.

The trend is likely to accelerate, with the city of Paris recently running emergency planning exercises for the day when temperatures in the capital hit 50C.

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CLIMATE CRISIS

France destroys seaside flats threatened by coastal erosion

French authorities on Friday started demolishing a seaside block of flats that has come to symbolise the country's battle against climate change-linked coastal erosion.

France destroys seaside flats threatened by coastal erosion

When the four-storey building was built behind the beach in the southwestern Gironde region in 1967, it stood 200 metres away from the shoreline.

But its 75 or so flats in the town of Soulac-sur-Mer had to be evacuated in 2014 after the sea crept up to within 20 metres of the structure.

Local authorities scrambled to rid the building of asbestos in the following years, before a huge mechanical digger took a swing at its facade on Friday, as several former residents looked on.

“It’s the memories of four generations” that are being destroyed, said 76-year-old Vincent Duprat, one of the home owners.

The sea “has taken back what is rightfully hers”.

MAP The French towns at urgent risk from coastal erosion

Environment Minister Christophe Bechu said the demolition was a sign of “what the rising waters and coastal erosion have is store for lots of other areas along the French coastline”.

By 2100, 20 percent of the coastline and up to 50,000 homes would be affected, he said.

Erosion is a natural phenomenon that has helped shape our continents over millennia.

But scientists say it is being accelerated by the warming of the planet, exacerbated by rising sea levels brought about by melting ice caps and glaciers, and by the more powerful waves that warmer oceans hold.

The sandy beaches of the Bay of Biscay between France and Spain are expected to recede by 50 metres by 2050, the Observatory of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Coastline says.

But climate change and rising sea levels could increase this by an extra 20 metres in some areas, the Observatory’s Nicolas Bernon said.

In 2020, after a seven-year legal battle, a court ruled that French authorities should compensate families who had been forced to evacuate the building in Soulac-sur-Mer to the tune of 70 percent of the original value of their homes.

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