This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard France Country Manager Astrid Nouvellet
A Warm Winter
France’s most recent winter was on average 1.2°C warmer than usual, with a 30% excess of rainfall compared to other years. The Bella storm hit the north of France on December 27th and crossed the entire country with strong winds.
There was an average excess of rain of over 50% throughout the hexagon in December and January, which followed a dry November. In January, the storms Gaetan and Hortense were followed with a strong wind generated by the Justine depression, causing floods in the Southwestern quadrant of the country and the far North at the end of the month.
Unusual frosts occurred throughout the country between February 7th and 14th but were ultimately followed by spring-like temperatures.
An Unusual Spring
The Northeastern quadrant of the country suffered through a cold spring, with an average temperature 1°C lower than usual. The entire country saw a rain deficit in March (over -30%) and April (almost -50%), which was mostly compensated for by the large amount of perturbations of May (+30% on average).
The country was hit by a heatwave between March 28th and April 1st. On the 31st, France registered its warmest afternoon for the month of March since 1900, with an average maximum temperature of 24.1°C.
On the other hand, the month of April brought along with it an excess of frosts (5 to 15 nights of frosts), which damaged some crops. Some cold records were met mostly between April 6th and 8th, and locally, between the 13th and 16th.
As stated above, May came with a heavy amount of rainfall and strong winds, resulting in Lyon registering a record 105.9 mm of rainfall in 24 hours on May 10th.
Thankfully, no substantial flooding or damages were noted by Meteo France for this season. At the time this article is being written, summer has not ended and, as such, no reports have been published yet on the data regarding this season.
A Calm Summer
On a short-term scale, this summer was colder and rainier than usual (compared to other years since 2014). The lack of heat waves reinforced this feeling. However, on a larger scale, the data shows that the average temperature for the season was actually 0.5°C over the norm. In the same vein, it snowed on the Pyrenees (the chain of mountains at the border with Spain) one day in June; statistically this is a normal event even though it had become a rare occurrence in summer in the recent years. Wildfires were fewer in number and caused less trouble than usual.
Climate Preparedness and Adaptation in France
The country and its institutions have been working closely with international groups on modeling climate predictions and tempering their effects. A National Adaptation to Climate Change Plan is set every five years since 2011, with the first one focusing on ensuring the protection of people and goods, avoiding inequalities in the risks faced, limiting the costs, enjoying the benefits of the crisis’s advantages, whilst also preserving the natural state of the country.
The country soon became one of the most advanced in climate change preparedness, and started to update its policies in the wake of the success of the COP 21, and released its updated Plan (2e Plan national d’adaptation au changement climatique) before creating the Resource Center on the adaptation to climate change, which was presented in 2020. This center is seen as the toolbox for all actors in France, from elected officials, companies, to auditors, citizens, or teaches. It is offering trainings, reports, research projects, articles, solutions, information by industry, type of element impacted and by region.
Barbara Pompili, Minister of the Energy Transition
Delegates: Emmanuelle Wargon (housing), Jean-Baptiste Djebbari (transportation), and Bérangère Abba (biodiversity)
Phone: +33 1 40 81 21 22
Email form: this email form
Jack Azoulay, Director of the Ministry’s Cabinet