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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Global and European temperature / Global and European temperature (CSI 012/CLIM 001/CLIM 003) - Assessment published Mar 2009

Global and European temperature (CSI 012/CLIM 001/CLIM 003) - Assessment published Mar 2009

Topics: ,

Generic metadata

Topics:

Climate change Climate change (Primary topic)

Tags:
climate | csi | climate change | frost | global warming | heat | temperatures
DPSIR: State
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 012
  • CLIM 001
  • CLIM 003
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1850-2008
Geographic coverage:
Albania Andorra Austria Belarus Belgium Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macedonia (FYR) Malta Moldova Monaco Montenegro Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania San Marino Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom
 
Contents
 

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

Annual, winter (December, January, February) and summer (June, July, August) mean temperature deviations in Europe, 1860-2007 (oC). The lines refer to 10-year moving average European land

Note: N/A

Data source:

EEA, based on CRU HadCRU3 and CRUTEM3 datasets.

Downloads and more info

Observed changes in warm spells and frost days indices 1976-2006

Note: N/A

Data source:

The data comes from two projects: ENSEMBLES (http://www.ensembles-eu.org) and ECA&D (http://eca.knmi.nl).

Downloads and more info

Modelled number of tropical nights over Europe during summer (June-August) 1961-1990 and 2071-2100

Note: Reference period (1961-1990) (left), scenario period (2071-2100) (centre) and change between periods (right)

Data source:

Dankers, R. and Hiederer, R., 2008. Extreme Temperatures and Precipitation in Europe: Analysis of a High-Resolution Climate Change Scenario. EUR 23291 EN. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities Luxembourg. 66 pp.

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European annual average temperature deviations, 1850-2008, relative to the 1850-1899 average (in ºC). The lines refer to 10-year moving average, the bars to the annual 'land only' European average

Note: The source of the original data is the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia

Data source:

EEA, based on CRU HadCRU3 and CRUTEM3 datasets.

Downloads and more info

Specific assessment

Europe

Annual and seasonal average
The average temperature has increased 1.3oC and 1.0oC for the European land area and European land & ocean area , respectively, comparing the trend towards 2008 with pre-industrial times  (CRU, 2007) (Fig. 3). As such Europe has warmed slightly more than the global average (i.e. 0.9oC and 0.7oC for land and land & ocean). Considering the European land, nine of the 12 years between 1997 and 2008 were among the warmest years since 1850' in Europe with 2007 as warmest year (1.5oC higher than pre-industrial), closely followed by 2000, 2006 and 2008.
Seasonally, Europe warmed more in winter than in summer (Fig. 4). Remarkably, autumn saw almost no warming. Geographically, particularly significant warming has been observed in the past 50 years over the Iberian Peninsula, in central and north-eastern Europe and in mountainous regions (Bohm et al., 2001; Klein Tank, 2004). In the past 30 years, warming was strongest over Scandinavia, especially in winter, whereas the Iberian Peninsula warmed in summer
The annual average temperature for Europe is projected to increase by 1.0-5.5oC (comparing 2080-2100 with the 1961-1990 average). This range takes into account the uncertainties in future socio-economic development by including two of the IPCC-SRES scenarios (the high emissions A2 and the medium emissions A1b), and the uncertainties in the climate models (IPCC, 2007b). The warming is projected to be greatest over eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the Arctic in winter (December to February), and over south-western and Mediterranean Europe in summer (June to August) (Giorgi et al., 2004; IPCC, 2007a). The temperature rise in parts of France and the Iberian Peninsula may exceed 6oC, while the Arctic could become on average 6oC and possibly 8oC warmer than the 1961-1990 average (IPCC, 2007a,b; ACIA 2007).


Temperature extremes in Europe
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 (Klein Tank, 2004; IPCC 2007a, Fig. 5). The average length of summer heat waves over Western Europe doubled over the period 1880 to 2005 and the frequency of hot days almost tripled (Della-Marta et al, 2007).
Extreme high temperature events across Europe, along with the overall warming, are projected to become more frequent, intense and longer this century (Schar et al., 2004, Tebaldi et al., 2006, IPCC,  2007a,b; Beniston et al., 2007). Likewise, night temperatures are projected to increase considerably, possibly leading to additional health problems and even mortality (Halsnćs et al, 2007, Sillman and Roekner, 2008), at least partly compensated by reduced mortality in winter (Fig. 6).
Geographically, the maximum temperature during summer is projected to increase far more in southern and central Europe than in northern Europe, whereas the largest reduction in the occurrence of cold extremes is projected for northern Europe (Kjellstrom et al., 2007; Beniston et al., 2007, Sillman and Roekner, 2008). Under the A2 scenario, central Europe, for example, is projected to experience by the end of the 21st century the same number of hot days as are currently experienced in Spain and Sicily (Beniston et al., 2007).

Specific policy question: Answer to unknown question

Global annual average temperature deviations, 1850-2008, relative to the 1850-1899 average (in ºC). The lines refer to 10-year moving average, the bars to the annual 'land and ocean' global average.

Note: The source of the original data is the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia

Data source:

EEA, based on CRU HadCRU3 and CRUTEM3 datasets

Downloads and more info

Rate of change of global average temperature, 1850-2008 (in oC per decade)

Note: Type: Graph

Data source:

EEA, based on CRU HadCRU3 and CRUTEM3 datasets

Downloads and more info

Specific assessment

Global

The Earth has experienced considerable temperature increases in the last 100 years, especially in the most recent decades. These changes are unusual in terms of both magnitude and rate of change. The temperature increase up to 2008 was about 0.7oC (land & ocean) compared to pre-industrial (defined as 1850-1899 average), about 1/3 of the EU 'sustainable' target of limiting global average warming to not more than 2oC above pre-industrial levels (Fig. 1). The increase over the global land area has been 0.9oC. Eleven of the last 12 years (1997-2008) rank among the warmest years in the instrumental record (the exception being 1996), and 2005 and 1998 were the warmest two years than any other year (Jones and Moberg, 2003; IPCC, 2007a). Note that 1998 experienced a strong El Nino, a warm water event in the eastern Pacific Ocean that adds warmth to global temperatures. In 2005 was about equally warm as 1998 without an El Nino event. 2008 was about 0.7oC above pre-industrial values. As such 2008 is set to be cooler globally than recent years. This is mainly due to the development of a strong La Nina in the tropical Pacific Ocean and changes in solar activity that limited the warming trend of the global climate. Despite these developments, 2008 is still one of the top ten warmest years.
The rate of change in the global average temperature is accelerating from 0.1oC per decade over the last 100 years, to 0.13oC per decade over the past 50 years up to 0.16oC per decade over the last 10 years (all values represent land & ocean area) (IPCC, 2007a) (Fig. 2). As such the indicative target of 0.2oC per decade becomes close.
The global and European average temperature is projected to continue to increase. Globally, the projected increase in this century is between 1.8 and 4.0oC (best estimate), and is considered likely (66 % probability) to be between 1.1  and 6.4oC for the six IPCC SRES scenarios and multiple climate models (IPCC 2007a), comparing the 2080-2100 average with the 1980-1999 average. These scenarios assume that no additional policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions are implemented (IPCC 2007). The range results from the uncertainties in future socio-economic development and in climate models. The EU 'sustainable' target of limiting global average warming to not more than 2.0oC above pre-industrial level is projected to be exceeded between 2040 and 2060, for the all six IPCC scenarios.
These recent projections are more advanced -as they provide best estimates and an assessed likelihood range for each of the marker scenarios- and now rely on a larger number of climate models of increasing complexity and realism, as well as new information regarding the nature of feedbacks from the carbon cycle and constraints on climate response from observations.

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 1 year in April-June (Q2)
Document Actions
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100