A new report has shown 2023 to have been a year of heat records for Europe as the continent experienced its joint warmest or second warmest year on record, depending on the dataset used.

Temperatures were above average for 11 months of 2023, with September coming in as the warmest recorded.

Last year also broke the record for the continent’s number of days of ‘extreme heat stress’ ever witnessed.

The report came from the Copernicus Climate Change Service and the World Meteorological Organization.

Sea surface temperatures across Europe also came to their highest levels on record.

Reporters singled out an area of the Atlantic west of Ireland which was classified as experiencing ‘beyond extreme’ temperatures in some parts during June 2023, as the sea surface recorded temperatures as high as 5°C above average.


Europe as a whole witnessed 7% more precipitation last year in comparison with average levels, which acted to push one-third of the continent’s river network above a ‘high’ flood threshold and with 16% of rivers above the ‘severe’ flood threshold.

Preliminary estimates from the International Disaster Database put the number of extreme weather-related deaths in Europe at 63 as a result of storms, 44 from floods and 44 from wildfires.

The report puts the death toll from extreme heat up around 30% over a period of 20 years and with more deaths attributed to heat in 94% of the European regions monitored.

The report also estimated the cost from weather and climate in Europe over 2023 to exceed €13.4bn.

Europe did see a record 43% of its electricity generated from renewables, with the uptick in storm activity between October and December driving wind power, while increased run-off from the higher water flows boosted hyrdoelectric energy output.