GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.’s weather agency on Tuesday confirmed a reading of 48.8 degrees Celsius (119.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in Sicily two years ago as the hottest temperature ever recorded in Europe.
The World Meteorological Organization says the Sicilian scorcher was picked up on Aug. 11, 2021, at a time when temperatures were soaring across much of Europe — renewing concerns about climate change caused by human activity.
The figure blew past the previous European record of 48 C that was recorded in the Greek cities of Athens and Elefsina in July 1977.
The Sicily record from 2021 was based on weather observations and first published in the International Journal of Climatology.
Randall Cerveny, who reports on climate and weather extremes for the World Meteorological Organization, says the confirmation followed a lengthy investigation that required “meticulous care” by the agency.
“This investigation demonstrates the alarming tendency for continuing high temperature records to be set in specific regions of the world,” Cerveny said.
Such evaluations are published in the Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes, which tallies records on extremes like the world’s high and low temperatures, heaviest hail stone, maximum gust of wind, longest lightning flash and weather-related deaths.