Switzerland Has Warmest December Ever As Average Temperatures Rise 3.4c

The Guardian

The country that founded winter tourism has seen the mildest end to the year since records began 150 years ago with ski resort owners set to suffer
Tourists ski on a thin layer of snow in Leysin, Switzerland during the country's warmest December on record. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Switzerland has experienced its warmest December since the country that founded winter tourism began keeping records 150 years ago.
Clear skies and dry ground have seen the Alpine nation end the year 3.4C above the long-term historical average for December, a climatologist for the federal office of meteorology and climatology (MeteoSwiss) said on Monday.
"There's no doubt about it," Stephan Bader said. "It's the warmest December in our recorded measurements dating back to 1864 – clearly. And it's especially pronounced at higher altitudes."
The dry warmth and slopes bereft of snow have hurt resort owners and ski lift operators, who are already contending with Switzerland's strong currency discouraging foreign visitors.
MeteoSwiss earlier this month said it expected 2015 to break the annual record for the third time in just a handful of years.
Globally, this year will be the warmest on record and 2016 could be even warmer due to the El Niño weather pattern, the World Meteorological Organization said last month. It warned that inaction on climate change could see global average temperatures rise by 6C or more.
It came as climate scientists in France said that this year's El Niño was the strongest ever measured, surpassing the one in 1997-98, both in terms of ocean surface temperature – up by more than 3C (5.4F) - and the surface area affected.
"It is probably the most powerful in the last 100 years," said Jerome Lecou, a climate expert at the French weather service Meteo France, noting that accurate measurements have only existed since the mid-20th century.
As was true in 1998, this year's super El Nino will have contributed to making 2015 the warmest on record, worldwide.
But the reverse may also be true, with climate change boosting the power of cyclical El Nino events.
"If you add the background global warming to natural weather phenomena, there's a tendency to break records left and right," Le Treut told AFP.


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