published on 15 November 2018 in air

2018: record-breaking heat in Italy

The year 2018, according to data processed by ISPRA (Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research) was the hottest year of the past two centuries in Italy. In the first week of November, ISPRA is taking stock of the climate in Italy and supplying data on the heavy rainfall and high winds there during October. According to a preliminary estimate of the anomaly in average temperature, 2018 has proved to be the hottest year  in Italy (+1.77°C compared to the normal reference 1961-1990 temperature) of the whole historical series of data controlled and processed at ISPRA, that is at least since 1961. However, based on research that reconstructs the past climate, it is possible to state that this year is the hottest in at least the last two centuries or so.

Average temperature anomalies globally (source: NCDC/NOAA) and in Italy (source: ISPRA) compared to normal 1961-1990 climatology data (data processing scia.isprambiente.it)

To date, the average temperature in Italy in 2018 has always been markedly higher than normal, except in the months of February and March; the relatively hotter months were January and April, with anomalies of over 2.5°C compared to normal reference levels. However, November too is being confirmed as an anomalous month with regard to temperature: in Sardinia, for example, in the first half of November there were temperatures of around 20 degrees.

Maps of temperature anomalies in Italy in the past 4 months, compared to the 1961-1990 climatology data. (Source: ISPRA, data processing scia.isprambiente.it)

During October, the whole of the Italian peninsula was hit by several extreme weather events that led to serious consequences for the population, the environment and the territory. On 19 October, a series of very fierce thunderstorms hit eastern Sicily, causing flooding and serious damage to homes, structures and the territory in a vast area, above all in the province of Catania. At the end of October, widespread bad weather hit the whole of Italy, particularly in the north. The highest precipitations were recorded in areas close to the Alps, with levels of over 400 mm in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and over 300 mm in the Liguria, Veneto and Lombardia regions.

Not only the precipitations, but also the wind reached very high levels. Several weather stations in the national network recorded wind speeds of around 100 km/h with gusts of up to around 180 km/h in the mountains (Monte Cimone) and of between 140 and 150 km/h over the sea (Capo Carbonara and Capo Mele).

A summary of the data and meteo-climatic information regarding the latest climate events in Italy was sent by ISPRA to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which is preparing the “WMO Annual Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2018” for publication. ISPRA also works with the National Department of Civilian Protection, supplying data, indexes and climatic products.

by Lucia Laurenza

With the sponsorship of the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research
Eni S.p.A. - P.IVA 00905811006