Although it is not quite over yet, 2014 has secured itself a place in the record books as both the hottest year in recorded Danish history and the first year ever to end with an average temperature in the double digits.
According to meteorology institute DMI, 2014’s average temperature will end at 10.0C.
The record heat is “unthinkable without climate change”, DMI spokeswoman Katrine Krogh Andersen said.
“If we assumed that Denmark was not affected by climate change but just had a climate similar to the 1961-1990 average, that would mean that an annual average temperature of 10C would only occur naturally every 700 years,” Andersen said in a press release.
The record temperatures reached in 2014 may just be the beginning. An October report from the Climate Ministry
warned that Denmark faces more heat waves and an average temperature that could rise by as much as 3.7C over the next century due to the effects of climate change.
“Climate change is happening here and now. In 2013 alone, Danish insurance companies paid out 2.3 billion kroner [$391 million, ed.]. There is no doubt that climate change will be very, very expensive for Denmark if we don’t do something drastic now,” Climate Minister Rasmus Helveg Petersen said when the report was released.
And it’s not just Denmark. 2014 is the hottest year in Europe since the 1500s and the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that 2014 will also be the hottest year on record globally as well. According to the NOAA, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2005 and 2010 all broke previous records for the hottest years since record-keeping began in 1880.
DMI climatologist Mikeal Sharling said Denmark has had an “extreme” weather year.
“None of the individual months in 2014 sat a heat record, but a whole five of the year’s months are among the top five warmest ever. And all 12 months have had temperatures above the norm,” he said.