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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Global and European temperature / Global and European temperature (CSI 012/CLIM 001) - Assessment published Oct 2005

Global and European temperature (CSI 012/CLIM 001) - Assessment published Oct 2005

Topics: ,

Update planned for summer 2014 to include new results from the IPCC AR5

Generic metadata

Topics:

Climate change Climate change (Primary topic)

Tags:
climate | eea report no 2/2004 | csi | heat waves
DPSIR: State
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 012
  • CLIM 001
Geographical coverage:

[+] Show Map

 
Contents
 

Key policy question: Will the increase in global average temperature stay within the EU policy target of not more than 2 degrees Celsius (C) above pre-industrial levels, and will the rate of increase in global average temperature stay within the proposed target of not more than 0.2 degree C per decade?

Key messages

The increase in global mean temperature observed over recent decades is unusual in terms of both magnitude and rate of change. The temperature increase up to 2004 was about 0.7 +/- 0.2 degrees C compared with pre-industrial levels. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global mean temperature is likely to increase by 1.4-5.8 degrees C between 1990 and 2100, assuming no climate change policies. The EU target might be exceeded between 2040 and 2070.

The current global rate of change is about 0.18 +/- 0.05 degrees C per decade, a value probably exceeding any 100-year average rate of warming during the past 1 000 years.

Global annual average temperature deviations, 1850-2004, compared with the 1961-1990 average (in oC)

Note: N/A

Data source:

KNMI, Climate Research Unit (CRU), http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data file tavegl.dat

Downloads and more info

Global average rate of temperature change (in oC per decade)

Note: N/A

Data source:

KNMI, Climate Research Unit (CRU), http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data file tavegl.dat

Downloads and more info

Key assessment

The Earth in general and Europe in particular have experienced considerable temperature increases in the past 100 years (Figure 1), especially in the most recent decades.

Globally, the temperature increase up to 2004 was about 0.7 +/- 0.2 degrees C compared with pre-industrial levels, which means about one-third of the EU policy target for limiting global average warming to not more than 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. These changes are unusual in terms of both magnitude and rate of change (Figure 2). The 1990s was the warmest decade on record, and 1998 was the warmest year, followed by 2003, 2002, and 2004.

Global mean temperature is likely to increase by 1.4-5.8 degrees C between 1990 and 2100, assuming no climate change policies beyond the Kyoto protocol and taking the uncertainty in climate sensitivity into account (IPCC, 2001). Considering this projected range, the EU target might be exceeded between 2040 and 2070.

The rate of global temperature increase is currently about 0.18 +/- 0.05 degrees C per decade, which is already close to the indicative target of 0.2 degrees C per decade. Under the range of scenarios assessed by the IPCC (IPCC, 2001), the indicative proposed target of 0.2 degrees C per decade is likely to be exceeded in the next few decades.

Specific policy question: What is the trend and rate of change in the European annual and seasonal temperature?

European annual, winter and summer temperature deviations (in oC, expressed as 10 year mean compared with the 1961-1990 average)

Note: N/A

Data source:

KNMI, (http://climexp.knmi.nl) based on Climate Research Unit (CRU), file CruTemp2v

Downloads and more info

Change in frequency of cold days in Europe, in the period 1976-1999 (in days per decade)

Note: Positive values indicate increase and negative values indicate decrease in temperature (in degrees Celsius per decade)

Data source:

Klein Tank et al., 2002 (http://eca.knmi.nl/)

Downloads and more info

Change in frequency of summer days in Europe, in the period 1976-1999 (days with temperatures above 25 oC)

Note: Positive values indicate increase and negative values indicate decrease of annaul summer days per decade

Data source:

Klein Tank et al., 2002 (http://eca.knmi.nl/)

Downloads and more info

Changes in duration of heat waves in Europe, in the period 1976-1999 (both in days per decade)

Note: Positive values indicate increase and negative values indicate decrease of duration of heat waves in Europe in days per decade

Data source:

Klein Tank et al., 2002 (http://eca.knmi.nl/)

Downloads and more info

Specific assessment

Specific assessment on the European region

European average temperature increased about 1 degree Celsius in the past hundred years (CRU, 2005). The warmest year in Europe was 2000 (1.2 degrees Celsius higher) (Figure 3), closely followed by 2003. The other next 6 warmest years were all in the last 14 years. The warming is greatest over southern-Europe and north-east Europe and least along the Atlantic coastline. Under different IPCC scenarios mean European temperature is projected to increase 2-6.3 degrees Celsius between 1990 and 2100 (Parry, 2000) with the largest warming for the southern and north-eastern Europe.

Analysing changes in seasonal temperature (Figure 3) is important because impacts of climate change are often not determined by the annual average temperature (change) (Figure 6, left) but by seasonal temperature. The start and end of a growing season is, for example especially determined by the temperatures in spring and autumn. Likewise, changes in winter temperature (Figure 6, right) are especially important to determine the success rate of surviving of species in winter (e.g. pests and diseases) or the vulnerability of the European skiing industry. In line with the global trend, temperatures are increasing more in winter than in summer (+ 1.1 degree Celsius in winter, + 0.7 degree Celsius in summer), resulting in more mild winters (Figure 3) and a decreased seasonal variation (Jones & Moberg, 2003). 

The number of cold days decreased significantly in many parts of the world including Europe (Figure 4), with most severe changes in Western-Europe. Many of the decreases occurred after 1976. In contrary, the number of warm days and heat waves illustrate the trends in summer in Europe. In line with the increase in summer average temperature, a significant increase in the number of warm days and the duration of heat waves has been observed (Figure 5 and 7).

This trend is also visible in the projected temperature changes up to 2100. Cold winters (defined as lowest temperature occurring 1-in-10 years during 1961-1990) might become rare by 2020 and almost entirely disappear by 2080. In contrast, hot summers (i.e. the highest temperature occurring 1-in-10 years during 1961-1990) will very likely occur more frequently. By 2080 nearly every summer at many parts of Europe might be hotter than the 1-in-10 hot summer as defined under current climate (Parry, 2000).

Data sources

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Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 1 year in April-June (Q2)
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