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SOER Message Understanding climate change — key message 6
Recent research suggests that several key components of the climate system could undergo irreversible change at significantly lower levels of global temperature increase than previously assessed. The most important of these “tipping elements” for Europe are the Greenland ice sheet, Alpine glaciers, and Arctic sea ice.
Located in The European environment – state and outlook 2010 Understanding climate change — SOER 2010 thematic assessment Key messages
SOER Message Understanding climate change — key message 5
The vast majority of glaciers in Europe are in retreat. Glaciers in the Alps lost about two-thirds of their volume between 1850 and 2009. The glacierised area in the Alps is projected to decrease to about one-third of the present area for a further rise in Alpine summer temperature of 2 °C.
Located in The European environment – state and outlook 2010 Understanding climate change — SOER 2010 thematic assessment Key messages
SOER Message Understanding climate change — key message 4
Observed global mean sea level rise has accelerated over the past 15 years. From 2002 to 2009 the contributions of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets to sea level rise increased. In 2007 the IPCC projected a sea level rise of 0.18 to 0.59 m above the 1990 level by 2100 excluding the effects of dynamic ice sheet processes. Recent projections show a maximum increase of about 1.0 m by 2100, while higher values up to 2.0 m cannot be excluded.
Located in The European environment – state and outlook 2010 Understanding climate change — SOER 2010 thematic assessment Key messages
SOER Message Understanding climate change — key message 3
The extent of Arctic summer sea ice has declined by about 10 % per decade since 1979. The extent of the minimum ice cover in September 2007 was half the size of the normal minimum extent in the 1950s; the third lowest minimum extent occurred in September 2010. The summer ice is also getting thinner and younger.
Located in The European environment – state and outlook 2010 Understanding climate change — SOER 2010 thematic assessment Key messages
SOER Message Understanding climate change — key message 2
Land and ocean sinks have taken up more than half of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions since 1800, but these natural sinks are vulnerable to climate and land-use change and are highly likely to take up less CO2 in future.
Located in The European environment – state and outlook 2010 Understanding climate change — SOER 2010 thematic assessment Key messages
SOER Message Understanding climate change — key message 1
Global mean temperature in 2009 was 0.7-0.8 °C higher than in pre-industrial times and the decade 2000-2009 was the warmest on record. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded in 2007 that most of the global warming since the middle of the 20th century is very likely to have been due to human influences.
Located in The European environment – state and outlook 2010 Understanding climate change — SOER 2010 thematic assessment Key messages
Publication Understanding climate change — SOER 2010 thematic assessment
Average global air and ocean temperatures are rising, leading to the melting of snow and ice and rising global mean sea level. Ocean acidification results from higher CO2 concentrations. With unabated greenhouse gas emissions, climate change could lead to an increasing risk of irreversible shifts in the climate system with potentially serious consequences. Temperature rises of more than 1.5–2 °C above pre-industrial levels are likely to cause major societal and environmental disruptions in many regions. The atmospheric CO2 concentration needs to be stabilised at 350–400 parts per million (ppm) in order to have a 50 % chance of limiting global mean temperature increase to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels (according to the IPCC in 2007, and confirmed by later scientific insights).
Located in The European environment – state and outlook 2010 Thematic assessments
Figure Measured and projected concentration of all greenhouse gases (left) and Kyoto greenhouse gases (right)
Graphs show observed and projected green house gases. Projections are made using all main IPCC SRES scenarios
Located in Data and maps Maps and graphs
Indicator Assessment Global and European temperature (CSI 012/CLIM 001/CLIM 003) - Assessment published Jun 2010
Global The global (land and ocean) average temperature increase between 1850 and 2009 was 0.74 0 C using combined Hadley centre and CRU datasets compared to the 1850 - 1899 period average temperature and 0.84 0 C using GISS dataset compared to the 1880 - 1899 period average temperature.  All used temperature records show the 2000s decade (2000 - 2009) was the warmest decade. The rate of global average temperature change has increased from around 0.06 0 C per decade over last 100 years, to 0.16 - 0.20 0 C in last decade. The best estimates for projected global warming in this century are a further rise in the global average temperature from 1.8 to 4.0 0 C for different scenarios that assume no further/additional action to limit emissions. The EU global temperature target is projected to be exceeded between 2040 and 2060, taking into account all six IPCC scenarios. Europe Europe has warmed more than the global average. The annual average temperature for the European land area up to 2009 was 1.3 0 C above 1850 - 1899 average temperature, and for the combined land and ocean area 1 0 C above. Considering the land area, nine out of the last 12 years were among the warmest years since 1850. High-temperature extremes like hot days, tropical nights, and heat waves have become more frequent, while low - temperature extremes (e.g. cold spells, frost days) have become less frequent in Europe. The average length of summer heat waves over Western Europe doubled over the period 1850 to 2009 and the frequency of hot days almost tripled. The annual average temperature in Europe is projected to rise in this century with the largest warming over eastern and northern Europe in winter, and over Southern Europe in summer. High temperature events across Europe including temperature extremes such as heat waves are projected to become more frequent, intense and longer this century, whereas winter temperature variability and the number of cold and frost extremes are projected to decrease further. According to the projections, the most affected European regions are going to be the Iberian and the Apennine Peninsula and south - eastern Europe.
Located in Data and maps Indicators Global and European temperature
Figure Antarctic temperature change and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration (CO2) over the past 800 000 years
The record is derived from several ice cores from the Antarctic ice sheet, some more than 3 km long
Located in Data and maps Maps and graphs
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
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Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100