2020 was Europe's hottest year on record 'by a considerable amount,' scientists say

A member of the Coldstream Guards, on duty at Buckingham Palace in London, is given a drink of water during extreme heat in June 2020.

(CNN)Last year was Europe's hottest on record, according to a report published Wednesday by the American Meteorological Society, which also found 2020 to be among the three hottest years globally.

The UK Met Office, which contributed to the report, said record had been broken "by a considerable amount." Average temperatures in Europe last year were 1.9 degrees Celsius above the 1981-2010 average, a period used as a benchmark to measure changing temperatures.
The five warmest years in Europe have all been since 2014.
    The findings were laid out in the American Meteorological Society's 31st State of the Climate report, which said that 17 European countries reported record-high annual temperatures, including France, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway and Sweden.
      In the Arctic, the average air temperature in 2020 was highest on record, at 2.1 degrees above the 1981-2010 average. Antarctica also experienced extreme warmth, with Esperanza Station reaching 18.3 degrees on February 6, 2020, the highest temperature recorded on the continent, and well above its previous record of 17.2 degrees set in 2015.
        Other parts of the world also experienced record-high temperatures, including Japan, Mexico, and the Seychelles.
        Parts of northwest Europe were relatively cooler in 2020, the report found, but the UK also reached its third-highest annual average temperature, after 2014 and 2006, according to the Met Office.
          While the Covid-19 pandemic slowed economic activity around the world and led to a 6-7% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, the report found the global concentration of greenhouse gases rose to a new high in 2020.