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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 May 2011

Global and European temperature (CSI 012/CLIM 001) - Assessment published May 2011

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 | thematic assessments | climate change | soer2010 | temperatures | understanding climate change | csi
DPSIR: State
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 012
  • CLIM 001
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1850-2098
 
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

Global

  • The global (land and ocean) average temperature increase between 1850 and 2010 was 0.81 0C using combined UK Met Office Hadley centre and University of East Anglia - Climate Research Unit HadCRUT3 dataset compared to the 1850 - 1899 period average temperature and 0.89 0C using Goddard Institute for Space Studies - GISS dataset compared to the 1880 - 1899 period average temperature.  All used temperature records show the 2000s decade (2001 - 2010) was the warmest decade.
  • For the HadCRUT3 and GISS datasets the rate of the global average has increased from around 0.06 0C per decade over last 100 years, to 0.18 - 0.22 0C 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 0C 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 average temperature for the European land area for the last decade (2001 - 2010) was 1.2 °C above the 1850 - 1899 average, and for the combined land and ocean area 1.0 °C above. Considering the land area, 8 out of the last 13 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 2010 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.

 

Observed global annual average temperature deviations in the period 1850–2010 (in ºC)

Note: In blue, the source of the original anomalies is the combined UK Met Office Hadley Centre and Climate Research Unit dataset, HadCRUT3. The global mean annual temperature deviations are in relation to the base period 1961-1990. In red, the source of the original anomalies is NASA's GISS dataset. The anomalies are in the source in relation to the base period 1951-1980. The global mean annual temperature deviations have been adjusted to be relative to the period 1850-1899 (HadCRUT3) and 1880 - 1899 (NASA's GISS). All original data is rounded to the nearest 2 decimal places. The trend lines show the 10-year centred moving average of the original anomalies for both datasets relative to the period 1880-1899. The dotted lines show the annual anomalies of the HadCRUT3 (blue) data set and GISS (red) respectively.

Data source:

EEA, based on NASA's GISS mean land-ocean temperature anomalies and the combined UK Met Office Hadley Centre and Climate Research Unit HadCRUT3 dataset.

Downloads and more info

Rate of change of global average temperature, 1850-2010 (in ºC per decade)

Note: Lines refer to the decadal rate of change of the global temperature anomalies. Sources of the data are NASA’s GISS mean land-ocean temperature anomalies and the Hadley Center’s HadCRUT3 dataset

Data source:

EEA, based on NASA's GISS mean land-ocean temperature anomaly and Hadley Center's HadCRUT3 dataset

Downloads and more info

Key assessment

 

 

In the statement on the status of the global climate (WMO, 2010), World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has shown temperature anomalies from three datasets. For the indicator we have used the two most independent datasets, maintained seperately by the Met Office Hadley Centre and Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom (HadCRUT3) and by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States (GISTEMP).

Global assessment

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 global average temperature increase between 1850 and 2010 was 0.81 °C for the HadCRUT3 dataset and between 1880 and 2010 it was 0.89 °C for the GISTEMP dataset, compared to the 1850 - 1899 average temperature (HadCRUT3) or 1880-1899 (GISTEMP). This is about one third of the EU 'sustainable' target of limiting global average warming to not more than 2 °C above the level in the pre-industrial period as defined for the purpose of this indicator (Figure 1). On the decadal scale, the last decade (2001 - 2010) was warmer in both of these records than the 1990s (1991 - 2000), which in turn was warmer than the 1980s (1981 - 1990) and earlier decades (WMO, 2010). Compared to pre-industrial times (1850-1899 for the HadCRUT3 dataset and 1880-1899 for GISTEMP), global air temperature was on average 0.74 °C (for HadCRUT3) and 0.81 °C (for GISTEMP) warmer during the last decade (2001-2010). Furthermore, 11 out of the last 13 years (1998 - 2010) rank as the warmest years in these instrumental records, and 2010 was either the warmest (for GISTEMP) or second warmest (for HadCRUT3) year globally in the records.

The rate of change in the global average temperature (representing land and ocean areas) has been accelerating from 0.06 °C per decade (for both the GISTEMP and HadCRUT3 datasets) over the last 100 years, to 0.09 °C and 0.10 °C per decade over the past 50 years and 0.22 °C and 0.18 °C when comparing the 2000-2010 decade with the 1990-2000 decade for the GISTEMP and HadCRUT3 datasets respectively (Figure 2). Thus these rates of change are now close to 0.2 °C per decade, the indicative limit proposed by some scientific studies. 


The global average temperature is projected to continue to increase. Globally, the projected increase in this century is between 1.8 and 4.0 0C (best estimate), and is considered likely (66 % probability) to be between 1.1 and 6.4 0C for the six IPCC SRES scenarios and multiple climate models (IPCC, 2007a), comparing the 2080 - 2100 average with the 1961 - 1990 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 and UNFCCC Copenhagen Accord target of limiting global average warming to not more than 2.0 0C above pre - industrial levels is projected to be exceeded between 2040 and 2060, for all six IPCC scenarios.

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

Observed changes in frost days indices 1976-2010 (in days per decade)

Note: How to read the map: Frost day is defined as a day with an average temperature below 0 ºC. Stations with positive trends are in blue and stations with negative trend are in red colour. When stations are in green colour trends are not statistically significant at 25% level.

Data source:

KNMI (http://eca.knmi.nl/ensembles); Haylock et al, 2009

Klein Tank, A.M.G. et al, 2002. Daily dataset of 20th-century surface

air temperature and precipitation series for the European Climate Assessment.

Int. J. of Climatol., 22, 1441-1453.

 

Downloads and more info

Annual, winter (December, January, February) and summer (June, July, August) mean temperature deviations in Europe, 1860-2010 (°C)

Note: The lines refer to 10-year moving average European land.

Data source:

EEA 2010, KNMI  (http://climexp.knmi.nl/), based on Climate Research Unit (CRU) gridded datasets HadCrut3 (land and ocean) and CruTemp3 (land only) from http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/

Downloads and more info

Projected average number of summer days exceeding the apparent temperature

Note: The maps show the number of summer days in Europe exceeding the apparent temperature (heat index) threshold of 40.7 °C as simulated by five ENSEMBLES Regional Climate Models for the IPCC SRES A1B emission scenario. The apparent temperature (often referred to as the heat index) represents heat stress on the human body by accounting for temperature

Data source:

EU-FP6 project ENSEMBLES; (http://eca.knmi.nl/ensembles); Haylock et al, 2008 ;

(http://www.ensembles-eu.org/) van der Linden and Mitchell, 2009, Fischer and Schaer, 2010.

 

Downloads and more info

European annual average temperature deviations, 1850-2010, relative to the 1850-1899 average (in °C).

Note: The lines refer to 10-year moving average, the bars to the annual 'land only' European average. The source of the original data is the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. The European mean annual temperature deviations are in the source in relation to the base period 1961-1990. The annual deviations shown in the chart have been adjusted to be relative to the period 1850-1899 to better monitor the EU objective not to exceed 2°C above pre-industrial values. Over Europe average annual temperatures during the real pre-industrial period (1750-1799) were very similar to those during 1850-99. Europe is defined as the area between 35° to 70° Northern latitude, -25° to 30° Eastern longitude, plus Turkey (=35° to 40° North, 30° to 45° East). The resulting temperature anomalies were obtained using KNMI's climate explorer.

Data source:

EEA 2010, KNMI  (http://climexp.knmi.nl/), based on Climate Research Unit (CRU) gridded datasets HadCrut3 (land and ocean) and CruTemp3 (land only) from http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/

Downloads and more info

Observed changes in warm spells indices 1976-2010 (in days per decade)

Note: How to read the map: Warm spell duration index is defined as a period (number of days) of six consecutive days with the mean daily temperature exceeding 90th percentile of the baseline temperature (average daily temperature the 1961-1990 period). Stations with negative trends are blue and stations with positive trends are in red colour. When stations are in green colour trends are not statistically significant at 25% level.

Data source:

KNMI (http://eca.knmi.nl/ensembles); Haylock et al, 2009

Klein Tank, A.M.G. et al, 2002. Daily dataset of 20th-century surface

air temperature and precipitation series for the European Climate Assessment.

Int. J. of Climatol., 22, 1441-1453.

Downloads and more info

Specific assessment

For Europe, temperature anomalies are shown for both 'land & ocean' and for 'land-only'. The first enables a comparison with the global average, the second shows temperature changes that the European citizens experience. All data are based on the datasets maintained by the Met Office Hadley Centre and Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia (CruTEM3 and HadSST2 for 'land & ocean' combined and CruTEM3 for 'land only').

Annual and seasonal average in Europe

The decadal average temperature has increased by 1.2 °C for the European land area (using the CruTEM3 dataset) and 1.0 °C for the European land & ocean area (combining the CruTEM3 and HadSST2 datasets),  when comparing the period 2001 - 2010 with pre-industrial times (1850 - 1899)  (Figure 3). Europe has thus warmed more than the global average (i.e. 1.0 - 1.2 °C compared to 0.81 - 0.89 °C). Considering the European land, 8 out of the last 13 years (1998 and 2010) were among the warmest years since 1850s in Europe with 2007 as warmest year (1.5 °C higher than 1850 - 1899 average temperature). The year 2010 was less warm in Europe than other recent years, ranking 24th warmest year on record with about 1.78 °C higher than the pre-industrial.  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 (Haylock, 2008). In the past 30 years, warming was the strongest over Scandinavia, especially in winter, whereas the Iberian Peninsula warmed in summer.
On average, Europe warmed more in winter than in summer (Figure 4).  The 2009 winter was relatively cold in most of Europe (e.g. temperatures dropped down to -40 °C in some locations in Scandinavia whereas in northern Italy experienced temperature of -17 °C) with also extensive snowfall in many places. The spring and summer season of 2009 was warmer than the long-term (1961-1990) average, particularly over southern Europe. Spain had the third warmest summer after the very hot summers of 2003 and 2005. Autumn, in contrary, was cold again (WMO, 2010).
Similar to the global temperature the average temperature over Europe is also projected to continue increasing over the next century. According to the ENSEMBLES project (van der Linden, 2009) the annual average temperature will increase more than global temperature, considering the A1B emission scenario (which is one of the six IPCC SRES scenarios).
In addition most of the Regional Climate Models (RCMs) results show, that the warming is projected to be the greatest over north-eastern Europe and Scandinavia in winter (December to February), and in the Mediterranean in summer (June to August) (van der Linden, 2009;). Summer temperature are projected to increase by up to 7 °C in Southern Europe and 5 °C in the Northern Europe comparing the period 2080 - 2100 with the 1961 -  1990 average. (van der Linden, 2009).
These results have been obtained from 25 different Regional Climate Models (RCMs) performing at 25 km spatial resolution with boundary conditions from five Global Climate Models (GCMs), all using the IPCC SRES A1B emission scenario.

Temperature extremes in Europe

 

High - temperature extremes like summer 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 (IPCC, 2007a, Figure 5, Figure 6).

The average length of summer heat waves over Western Europe doubled over the last 100 years and the frequency of hot days almost tripled (Della - Marta et al., 2007). In the period 1976 - 2009 increase of heat wave duration was observed in whole Europe (Fig. 5), however the trend is not significant at the majority of stations. In contrary, the significant decrease in number of frost days has been observed in most of the European area (Fig. 6).Extreme high temperature events across Europe, along with the overall warming, are projected to become more frequent, intense and longer this century (Tebaldi et al., 2006, IPCC, 2007a,b; Beniston et al., 2007; Haylock et al, 2008, van der Linden et al, 2009, Fig. 7). 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 (Kjellstroem et al., 2007; Beniston et al., 2007; Sillman and Roekner; 2008; Haylock et al, 2008; van der Linden, 2009; Fischer and Schaer, 2010). According to the ENSEMBLES RCM scenarios for 2071 - 2100 (van der Linden et al, 2009) the number of days with apparent temperature exceeding 40.7 °C (heat index) will double in most parts of southern Europe.

 

 

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