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According to a recent study, the average temperature in France could rise by 3.8 degrees by the end of this century, which is higher than the global average.

“This represents an increase of up to 50 percent compared to previous forecasts,” said Orelen Ribes, a climatologist at the French National Center for Meteorological Research (CNRM), one of the authors of the study.

In a worst-case scenario, if France continues to rely heavily on fossil fuels, average temperatures could rise by 6.7 degrees, warns a study published Oct. 4 in the journal Earth Systems Dynamics.

In the best case, the increase will be 2.3°C.

Cumulative impact of emissions

Researchers from CNRS, CNRM and the European Center for Research and Advancement in Scientific Computing (Cerfacs) used data collected since 1899 from around thirty weather stations across France to calculate current and future warming.

These data showed that the current average temperature in France is 1.66 degrees higher than in the period 1900-1930.

“Every ton of CO2 matters because warming depends on the aggregate level of emissions,” Ribes explained, adding that “by 2023 we will already have reached +1.8 degrees.”

The latest report by the UN’s experts on climate change (IPCC) found that the planet has already warmed an average of almost 1.2 degrees since the pre-industrial era due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities.

Intense heat, drought, floods

A temperature rise of 3.8 degrees by 2100 in France is only an average, the researchers warn: in some regions, especially around the Mediterranean or in the mountains, temperatures could be even higher.

Also, the warming will vary greatly depending on the season. While the winter temperature increase will be 3.2°C (from 2.3 to 4.2°C depending on the region), summer may see an average increase of 5.1 degrees (from 3.6 to 6.6° C).

“This will mean that extreme events such as droughts and floods will be much more severe than those we experienced in the summer of 2022, when the average temperature increase was ‘only’ 4 degrees,” Julien emphasizes. Boe, a climatology researcher from the CNRS.

Ecosystems, biodiversity in danger

In any case, this warming will have “consequences for ecosystems and biodiversity where habitats become less favorable for certain species and also for the agricultural system” with some crops being abandoned due to lack of water or changes in harvest cycles, Boe explains.

The only positive lesson is that “we are at the point where warming is increasing the fastest” due to the reduction in the use of aerosols that have a cooling effect.

“Thus, after 2030, growth rates should slow down,” Ribes says.

Even so, if nothing changes, France will not avoid an additional average of 3.8 degrees.