Italy reports 11 extreme weather events per day in the third-hottest year since 1800

Rome: One of the hottest years in the history of the country has also brought an average of 11 extreme weather events per day in Italy, from floods and droughts to devastating wildfires.

Not only the year has been the third-hottest in the history of the country since 1800, but Italy has experienced an average of 11 extreme weather events per day in the first seven months of 2023, according to a new study by the national farmers’ organisation Coldiretti.

The study, published on Thursday, found that Italy has experienced record heat this year, with temperatures 0.67C higher than the historical average since researchers started collecting data over 200 years ago. In four northern regions of the country, temperatures were 0.86C above the historical average, making 2023 the second-hottest year since 1800 in the region.

There’s no doubt that the increased heat can be linked to climate change. Not only scientists have found temperatures to be rising because of the impact of fossil fuels on our atmosphere, but the hottest years in Italy were all reported in the past decade and include 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022.

“We’re facing an increased tropicalisation,” Coldiretti pointed out in its report, “with more frequent extreme weather events, increased disruptions from seasonal expectations, brief but intense rainfall, and the quick transition from hot weather to bad weather.”

This year, Italy has been hit by a severe drought that has compromised the harvest across the country, followed by devastating floods in Emilia Romagna. Heavy but brief rainfall has not helped solve Italy’s drought problem, and has contributed to flooding across the country.

The stifling heat in July brought temperatures that were 1.96C above the average for the month and has contributed to creating the perfect scenario for the starting of the wildfires which have ravaged the southern regions of the country, including Sicily and Sardinia.

While the data shows a terrifying prospect for the country, Coldiretti is also concerned about how much this is costing Italian farmers. According to the organisation, the damages suffered by the country this year will cost Italy even more than the €6 billion losses reported last year.

Only the floods in Emilia Romagna cost the country over €1 billion, said the organisation. Because of the heat, Italy has seen its production of honey cut down by 70% and that of grapes by 14%. Other products have also been affected.