2020 warmest year on record in Estonia's climate history

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2020 was the warmest year in Estonia since records began, data from the Estonian meteorology annual review shows.

The average air temperature in Estonia last year was 8.4 degrees Celsius, the highest figure since 1961. The previous warm weather records were set in 2015 and 2019.

At 1,995.3 hours on average, the country received more sunshine last year than the long-term average, whereas precipitation, which averaged 667 millimeters, was equal to the long-term average. 

"Regardless of whether the observation series start half a century or more than a century ago, never before have weather stations registered so warm a year. The warmest weather last year was seen on Vilsandi [island], where the year's average air temperature was 9.6 degrees," Kulli Loodla, deputy head of the weather observation department at the Estonian Environment Agency, said.

She noted that this is the highest average air temperature on record in the observation series going back almost 150 years, albeit with some gaps.

February of last year was exceptionally warm and with a very high amount of precipitation, with several coastal weather stations registering new warm weather records for the month. These included the weather stations of Kihnu, Ruhnu and Sorve.

Regardless of the length of the observation series - 50 or 150 years - February 2020 placed among the top three in average air temperature at all weather stations. At most weather stations the amount of precipitation registered in February was more than double the long-term average and at several stations new precipitation records for February were registered.  

The second half of June was particularly warm in Estonia. During that period, some weather stations registered new highs for June and others a repeat of the previous record. At several locations maximum air temperatures hit 27 degrees or more on two to seven consecutive days in June 2020. 

November 2020 was warm across Estonia despite some regions of the country getting some snowfall in the second half of the month. New warm weather records for November were set at several weather stations on Nov. 3. November 2020 was the warmest November in Estonia's climate history, as never before has a higher average air temperature been registered here since 1866, when weather observation began at the meteorological observatory of the University of Tartu.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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