(CNN)Last year was Europe’s hottest on record, according to a report published Wednesday by the American Meteorological Society, which also found 2020 to be among the three hottest years globally.

The UK Met Office, which contributed to the report, said record had been broken “by a considerable amount.” Average temperatures in Europe last year were 1.9 degrees Celsius above the 1981-2010 average, a period used as a benchmark to measure changing temperatures.The five warmest years in Europe have all been since 2014.The nightmare of Greece's Evia, an island devoured by flames The nightmare of Greece's Evia, an island devoured by flames The nightmare of Greece's Evia, an island devoured by flames The findings were laid out in the American Meteorological Society’s 31st State of the Climate report, which said that 17 European countries reported record-high annual temperatures, including France, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway and Sweden.In the Arctic, the average air temperature in 2020 was highest on record, at 2.1 degrees above the 1981-2010 average. Antarctica also experienced extreme warmth, with Esperanza Station reaching 18.3 degrees on February 6, 2020, the highest temperature recorded on the continent, and well above its previous record of 17.2 degrees set in 2015.Read MoreOther parts of the world also experienced record-high temperatures, including Japan, Mexico, and the Seychelles.Parts of northwest Europe were relatively cooler in 2020, the report found, but the UK also reached its third-highest annual average temperature, after 2014 and 2006, according to the Met Office.While the Covid-19 pandemic slowed economic activity around the world and led to a 6-7% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, the report found the global concentration of greenhouse gases rose to a new high in 2020.Firefighters battle a wildfire near Avila, Spain, on August 16.Firefighters battle a wildfire near Avila, Spain, on August 16. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesFirefighters battle a wildfire near Avila, Spain, on August 16.Hide Caption 1 of 32A helicopter drops water as a wildfire burns in the village of Navalmoral, Spain, on August 16. A helicopter drops water as a wildfire burns in the village of Navalmoral, Spain, on August 16. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesA helicopter drops water as a wildfire burns in the village of Navalmoral, Spain, on August 16. Hide Caption 2 of 32A man works to douse a fire in Montalto, Italy, on August 12.A man works to douse a fire in Montalto, Italy, on August 12. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesA man works to douse a fire in Montalto, Italy, on August 12.Hide Caption 3 of 32Forest fires rage on the Greek island of Euboea on August 11.Forest fires rage on the Greek island of Euboea on August 11. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesForest fires rage on the Greek island of Euboea on August 11.Hide Caption 4 of 32This aerial photo shows a wildfire-affected area in Mugla, Turkey, on August 11.This aerial photo shows a wildfire-affected area in Mugla, Turkey, on August 11. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesThis aerial photo shows a wildfire-affected area in Mugla, Turkey, on August 11.Hide Caption 5 of 32Remains of an 18th-century Orthodox church are seen on August 10, after a fire on the Greek island of Evia.Remains of an 18th-century Orthodox church are seen on August 10, after a fire on the Greek island of Evia. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesRemains of an 18th-century Orthodox church are seen on August 10, after a fire on the Greek island of Evia.Hide Caption 6 of 32Local youths and volunteers gather in a field and wait to support firefighters during a wildfire on August 9, close to the village of Kamatriades on the Greek island of Evia.Local youths and volunteers gather in a field and wait to support firefighters during a wildfire on August 9, close to the village of Kamatriades on the Greek island of Evia. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesLocal youths and volunteers gather in a field and wait to support firefighters during a wildfire on August 9, close to the village of Kamatriades on the Greek island of Evia.Hide Caption 7 of 32People sleep in a car near the beach in Pefki village as wildfires rage on the island of Evia on August 8.People sleep in a car near the beach in Pefki village as wildfires rage on the island of Evia on August 8. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesPeople sleep in a car near the beach in Pefki village as wildfires rage on the island of Evia on August 8.Hide Caption 8 of 32A resident reacts as a wildfire approaches her house in the Greek village of Gouves, on the island of Evia, on August 8.A resident reacts as a wildfire approaches her house in the Greek village of Gouves, on the island of Evia, on August 8. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesA resident reacts as a wildfire approaches her house in the Greek village of Gouves, on the island of Evia, on August 8.Hide Caption 9 of 32A house in Pefkofito, Greece, is destroyed on August 7.A house in Pefkofito, Greece, is destroyed on August 7. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesA house in Pefkofito, Greece, is destroyed on August 7.Hide Caption 10 of 32A firefighter washes his face in the Milas area of Mugla, Turkey, on August 7.A firefighter washes his face in the Milas area of Mugla, Turkey, on August 7. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesA firefighter washes his face in the Milas area of Mugla, Turkey, on August 7.Hide Caption 11 of 32People are evacuated on a ferry as a wildfire burns in Limni, Greece, on August 6.People are evacuated on a ferry as a wildfire burns in Limni, Greece, on August 6. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesPeople are evacuated on a ferry as a wildfire burns in Limni, Greece, on August 6.Hide Caption 12 of 32A satellite photo shows smoke rising from fires on the island of Evia, Greece, on August 5.A satellite photo shows smoke rising from fires on the island of Evia, Greece, on August 5. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesA satellite photo shows smoke rising from fires on the island of Evia, Greece, on August 5.Hide Caption 13 of 32Firefighters try to extinguish a wildfire near the town of Olympia, Greece, on August 5.Firefighters try to extinguish a wildfire near the town of Olympia, Greece, on August 5. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesFirefighters try to extinguish a wildfire near the town of Olympia, Greece, on August 5.Hide Caption 14 of 32Residents react during a wildfire near Olympia on August 5.Residents react during a wildfire near Olympia on August 5. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesResidents react during a wildfire near Olympia on August 5.Hide Caption 15 of 32The grounds of a burnt hotel are seen in Lalas village, near Olympia, on August 5.The grounds of a burnt hotel are seen in Lalas village, near Olympia, on August 5. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesThe grounds of a burnt hotel are seen in Lalas village, near Olympia, on August 5.Hide Caption 16 of 32People move belongings to safety as a forest fire rages in a wooded area north of Athens, Greece, on August 5.People move belongings to safety as a forest fire rages in a wooded area north of Athens, Greece, on August 5. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesPeople move belongings to safety as a forest fire rages in a wooded area north of Athens, Greece, on August 5.Hide Caption 17 of 32A wildfire approaches the Olympic Academy in Olympia, Greece, on August 4.A wildfire approaches the Olympic Academy in Olympia, Greece, on August 4. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesA wildfire approaches the Olympic Academy in Olympia, Greece, on August 4.Hide Caption 18 of 32The remnants of a destroyed house are seen in the Varibobi area of northern Athens on August 4.The remnants of a destroyed house are seen in the Varibobi area of northern Athens on August 4. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesThe remnants of a destroyed house are seen in the Varibobi area of northern Athens on August 4.Hide Caption 19 of 32Onlookers view the smoke from the wildfires blanketing Athens' Acropolis on August 4.Onlookers view the smoke from the wildfires blanketing Athens' Acropolis on August 4. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesOnlookers view the smoke from the wildfires blanketing Athens’ Acropolis on August 4.Hide Caption 20 of 32A charred area of Mugla, Turkey, after a forest fire on August 3.A charred area of Mugla, Turkey, after a forest fire on August 3. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesA charred area of Mugla, Turkey, after a forest fire on August 3.Hide Caption 21 of 32Smoke and flames rise over the village of Limni on the Greek island of Evia.Smoke and flames rise over the village of Limni on the Greek island of Evia. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesSmoke and flames rise over the village of Limni on the Greek island of Evia.Hide Caption 22 of 32Firefighters work as a house burns in the Adames area of northern Athens on August 3.Firefighters work as a house burns in the Adames area of northern Athens on August 3. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesFirefighters work as a house burns in the Adames area of northern Athens on August 3.Hide Caption 23 of 32A woman pours water over a baby's head at a fountain in Skopje, North Macedonia, as temperatures reached over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on August 2. A woman pours water over a baby's head at a fountain in Skopje, North Macedonia, as temperatures reached over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on August 2. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesA woman pours water over a baby’s head at a fountain in Skopje, North Macedonia, as temperatures reached over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on August 2. Hide Caption 24 of 32A man leads sheep away from an advancing fire in Mugla, Turkey, on August 2.A man leads sheep away from an advancing fire in Mugla, Turkey, on August 2. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesA man leads sheep away from an advancing fire in Mugla, Turkey, on August 2.Hide Caption 25 of 32People watch an advancing fire that rages around the Cokertme village near Bodrum, Turkey, on August 2.People watch an advancing fire that rages around the Cokertme village near Bodrum, Turkey, on August 2. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesPeople watch an advancing fire that rages around the Cokertme village near Bodrum, Turkey, on August 2.Hide Caption 26 of 32Local residents watch as a Greek army helicopter collects water to tackle a wildfire near the village of Lambiri, Greece, on August 1.Local residents watch as a Greek army helicopter collects water to tackle a wildfire near the village of Lambiri, Greece, on August 1. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesLocal residents watch as a Greek army helicopter collects water to tackle a wildfire near the village of Lambiri, Greece, on August 1.Hide Caption 27 of 32A handout photo from the Italian National Fire Brigade shows an aerial view of a fire in the Pineta Dannunziana reserve in Pescara, Italy, on August 1.A handout photo from the Italian National Fire Brigade shows an aerial view of a fire in the Pineta Dannunziana reserve in Pescara, Italy, on August 1. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesA handout photo from the Italian National Fire Brigade shows an aerial view of a fire in the Pineta Dannunziana reserve in Pescara, Italy, on August 1.Hide Caption 28 of 32A man surveys a fire at Le Capannine beach in the Sicilian town of Catania, Italy, on July 30.A man surveys a fire at Le Capannine beach in the Sicilian town of Catania, Italy, on July 30. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesA man surveys a fire at Le Capannine beach in the Sicilian town of Catania, Italy, on July 30.Hide Caption 29 of 32Firefighters battle a massive wildfire that engulfed a Mediterranean resort region on Turkey's southern coast near the town of Manavgat on July 29.Firefighters battle a massive wildfire that engulfed a Mediterranean resort region on Turkey's southern coast near the town of Manavgat on July 29. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesFirefighters battle a massive wildfire that engulfed a Mediterranean resort region on Turkey’s southern coast near the town of Manavgat on July 29.Hide Caption 30 of 32A firefighter talks to his colleague as they work to put out fires in Cuglieri, on the Italian island of Sardinia, on July 26.A firefighter talks to his colleague as they work to put out fires in Cuglieri, on the Italian island of Sardinia, on July 26. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesA firefighter talks to his colleague as they work to put out fires in Cuglieri, on the Italian island of Sardinia, on July 26.Hide Caption 31 of 32A firefighting helicopter passes in front of a cloud of smoke from a forest fire near Spathovouni village, southwest of Athens, Greece, on July 23.A firefighting helicopter passes in front of a cloud of smoke from a forest fire near Spathovouni village, southwest of Athens, Greece, on July 23. Photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heat wavesA firefighting helicopter passes in front of a cloud of smoke from a forest fire near Spathovouni village, southwest of Athens, Greece, on July 23.Hide Caption 32 of 3201 europe extreme summer weather 0816 02 europe extreme summer weather 0816 35 europe extreme weather 0812 italy33 europe extreme weather 0811 greece01 turkey fire 081131 europe extreme weather 0810 greece29 europe extreme weather 0809 Greece27 europe extreme weather 0808 greece21 europe extreme weather 0808 RESTRICTED17 europe extreme weather 0807 greece28 europe extreme weather 0807 turkey15 europe extreme weather 0806 greece22 europe extreme weather 0805 greece12 europe extreme weather 0805 greece13 europe extreme weather 0805 greece14 europe extreme weather 0805 greece09 europe extreme weather 0805 greece06 europe extreme weather 0804 greece05 europe extreme weather 0804 greece08 europe extreme weather 0804 greece09 southern europe climate 0803 Turkey04 europe extreme weather 0803 greece evia02 southern europe climate 0803 greece11 europe extreme weather 0802 north macedonia RESTRICTED10 southern europe climate 0802 Turkey02 europe extreme weather 0802 turkey04 southern europe climate 0801 greece07 southern europe climate 0801 italy01 europe extreme weather 0731 italy08 southern europe climate 0729 Turkey06 southern europe climate 0726 italy01 southern europe climate 0723 greece“This report adds to all the other evidence that human-induced climate change is affecting every part of the globe, but not all regions are experiencing the change at the same rate,” said Robert Dunn, an operational meteorologist at the Met Office and lead editor for the report’s chapter on global climate.The report comes as much of the Northern Hemisphere has faced climate change-driven extreme weather this summer in the form of heatwaves and wildfires in Greece, Italy, Turkey and France, while Germany and Belgium experienced deadly floods in July. The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service warned this month that the Mediterranean region was evolving into a “wildfire hotspot” and warned that the fires already burning were emitting large amounts of smoke pollution into the atmosphere.The US and Canada have also fought persistent wildfires this summerLiz Bentley, chief executive at the Royal Meteorological Society said the report on 2020 “captures reality” and was “more evidence that our climate is changing.””Two degrees may not feel very much to the average person on the streets — you might not notice a two degree difference if you stepped outside. But that small change in the average temperatures has a significant change in the frequency and intensity of some weather events, particularly heat events” like those happening in Europe as well as North America.”These extreme heat events are happening much more frequently, when they happen, they are lasting longer,” Bentley said.A passenger on the London Underground attempts to stay cool during a heat wave in August 2020.A passenger on the London Underground attempts to stay cool during a heat wave in August 2020.A passenger on the London Underground attempts to stay cool during a heat wave in August 2020.Michael Byrne, a lecturer in climate science at the University of St. Andrews, told the Science Media Center that while it was no surprise Europe experienced its hottest year, the pace of warming was “worrying.””The report highlights that even if we limit global warming to 1.5°C as set out in the Paris Agreement, temperature increases in many parts of the world — and particularly over land — will far exceed 1.5C,” Byrne wrote.A major UN climate change report released earlier this month concluded global average temperature is already 1.2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, and efforts should be made to prevent it from rising beyond 1.5 degrees to avoid worsening impacts. The global scientists who authored that report also concluded humans were unequivocally causing the climate crisis. It also found that if the world can contain reach net zero — where the amount of greenhouse gas emissions is no greater than the amount removed — warming could be contained to 1.5°C.

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