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Can Europe's greatest store of climate data help us better predict our future?

The city of Bologna in Italy is home to the world's oldest university and Europe's greatest store of climate data. In this episode of Climate Now, we travel to the historic capital of the Emilia-Romagna region to ask what we can learn from our past in order to better prepare for our future.

First, a quick review of the very latest data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service.

Globally it was the warmest October on record, with temperatures 0.8 degrees Celsius above the 1991-2020 average.

We can put that into perspective with this graph below showing annual temperatures since 1940. At the moment, 2016 is the record-holder, but 2023 is now clearly much higher, meaning we're on track for this to be the hottest year on record.

October in Europe was marked by some extreme weather, with Storm Babet battering the UK, Germany, Denmark, and France, claiming lives and causing widespread flooding.

Climate scientists say that as our planet warms, we can expect heavier rainfall during these kinds of events.

"Warmer air can hold more moisture. So actually, for every degree of warming, we see a 7% increase in the amount of water that the air can hold," said Rosie Oakes, a climate scientist at the Met Office.

"So then if you think about that in terms of rainfall events, you've got more water in the system, and so you're going to have heavier rain storms when they do occur."

The rainfall from October's storms is reflected in the European map of precipitation anomaly in the band of blue from the Iberian peninsula across to Russia.

Bologna is a buzzing student city and a place where Europe's greatest scientific minds, such as Nicolaus Copernicus, have been gathering data about our planet since the Renaissance.

Professor Monica Azzolini, an