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2022 was Belgium's second hottest and driest on record after 2020

21:50 22/12/2022

This past year was the one of driest and warmest in Belgium in the last 30 years, second only to 2020, new statistics have confirmed.

While the year is not yet finished, Belgium’s Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI) is using predictions and forecasts for the remaining days in order to complete its yearly review.

“For Belgium, 2022 may end up second on the list of the warmest and driest years since the last 30 years,” the RMI summarised.

“Unlike last year, 2022 was another year of heat records and exceptionally dry periods. For the Uccle station, after 2020, 2022 ranks second warmest year since records began in 1833. Globally, this year is also once again in the top 10 warmest years.”

The average maximum temperature in Uccle was 16.2°C for 2022, the highest ever recorded since record-keeping began in 1892.

The five warmest years on record have all occurred after 2010, and the 10 warmest years have all taken place since 2005.

“Heat records and heatwaves make this warming trend palpable,” the RMI said, pointing to record-breaking heat waves this summer.

But the warming trend did not just mean hotter summers. There were also summer days much later in the season than usual - sometimes called an "Indian summer".

In late October, a high-pressure system brought warm air into Belgium for a long period, resulting in a maximum temperature of 25.5°C on 29 October 2022.

“Never since observations began in 1892, has a summer day (day with a maximum temperature equal to or above 25°C) been recorded so late in the year,” the RMI reports.

There was little rain to bring relief, either. This was the second driest year since 1991.

“Taking into account forecasts up to 31 December 2022, with a precipitation total of 661.5mm, this is likely to be the second driest year (after 2018) since the start of the current 1991-2020 reference period,” the RMI said.

“The number of precipitation days (144 days) is also among one of the lowest since 1991 (average of 189.8 precipitation days for the reference period 1991-2020).”

With the exception of June, most of Belgium experienced dry to extremely dry conditions from March to August.

With only 5.2mm of precipitation, July 2022 was the driest July month in Uccle since 1991.

Written by Helen Lyons