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European precipitation

Indicator Specification Created 11 Jul 2008 Published 08 Sep 2008 Last modified 04 Sep 2015, 06:59 PM
Note: new version is available!
Topics: ,
Indicator codes: CLIM 002

Update planned for November 2012

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)
  • No published assessments


Justification for indicator selection

Precipitation is a major component of the hydrological cycle. The amount and spatial distribution of European precipitation is strongly influenced by circulation. Most precipitation over Europe is connected with the advection of maritime air masses from the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The combination of changes in the precipitation regime and increases in air temperature can lead to extreme hydrological evens such a flooding and droughts. Some systems or sectors, closely connected with the hydrological cycle, are very sensitive to the combined effects of higher temperatures and changed precipitation characteristics. Within limits and at a cost, adaptation to many of the impacts is possible. These options will be briefly mentioned in the individual indicator sections.
Homogenous time series of monthly precipitation data and interpolation and gridding methods enable analysis of various periods from 1901 on various temporal and spatial scales. However, differences between climate models for future precipitation projections indicate higher uncertainty for regional and seasonal results than for temperature projections and observed precipitation trends.

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

  • Observed changes in annual precipitation 1961-2006
  • Modelled precipitation change between 1980-1999 and 2080-2099


Policy context and targets

Context description

In April 2009 the European Commission presented a White Paper on the framework for adaptation policies and measures to reduce the European Union's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The aim is to increase the resilience to climate change of health, property and the productive functions of land, inter alia by improving the management of water resources and ecosystems. More knowledge is needed on climate impact and vulnerability but a considerable amount of information and research already exists which can be shared better through a proposed Clearing House Mechanism. The White Paper stresses the need to mainstream adaptation into existing and new EU policies. A number of Member States have already taken action and several have prepared national adaptation plans. The EU is also developing actions to enhance and finance adaptation in developing countries as part of a new post-2012 global climate agreement expected in Copenhagen (Dec. 2009). For more information see:


No targets have been specified

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified


Methodology for indicator calculation

Methodology for gap filling

Methodology references

No methodology references available.

Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

External data references

Data sources in latest figures

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Blaz Kurnik


Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)


Indicator code
CLIM 002
Version id: 1
Primary theme: Climate change Climate change


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DPSIR: Impact
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
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European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100