An 'unprecedented heatwave' is sweeping Europe, with the warmest January on record predicted for the start of 2023.
The warmest January day ever was recorded this week in several European countries including Poland, Denmark, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.
Cara Augustenborg, a Professor of Environmental Policy at University College Dublin and a member of the Climate Advisory Council, told Newstalk Breakfast that the figures are "totally insane".
"This is the most extreme event ever seen in European climatology", she said.
"It has implications in terms of food production. I mean, our own farmers here know that a good frost is really important when it comes to pest control, it has implications when it comes to water supply later on in the year."
There are short-term consequences too, such as the effect of warm weather on the tourist season in popular skiing destinations.
"We forget that this is actually part of a whole year of climate breakdown in the world", Prof Augustenborg said.
"In 2022, we saw floods in Pakistan in June affecting seven million people. We saw a heatwave in the UK and the EU last summer that cost us €20 billion and led to 20,000 excess deaths."
"Over the summer, we saw droughts in East Africa, floods in West Africa, hurricane Iain in the US and Cuba, which cost €100 billion in damage", she added.
While many politicians and policy-makers are generally trying to reduce emissions and slow climate change, Prof Augustenborg said that they must also quickly adapt to this "new normal".
"When we thicken our atmosphere with chemicals like carbon dioxide and methane, we put more energy in the system and we create the conditions for this kind of extreme weather", she said.
"The fact that it spread all the way from Russia, all the way down to France, it really is far more wide-reaching than what climatologists have seen in the past."
Listen back to the full conversation here.
Main image shows children playing at the Netun fountain in Berlin. Picture by: Heiko Küverling / Alamy