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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 Aug 2013

Global and European temperature (CSI 012/CLIM 001/CLIM 003) - Assessment published Aug 2013

This content has been archived on 01 Aug 2014, reason: Other (New version data-and-maps/indicators/global-and-european-temperature/global-and-european-temperature-assessment-8 was published)
Topics: ,

Generic metadata

Topics:

Climate change Climate change (Primary topic)

Tags:
soer2010 | extreme temperatures | climate change | climate | temperatures | understanding climate change
DPSIR: State
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 012
  • CLIM 001
  • CLIM 003
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1850-2098
 
Contents
 

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

European average air temperature anomalies (1850 to 2012) in °C over land areas only

Note: The sources of the original data: 1) Black line - HadCRUT4 from the UK Met Office Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit, baseline period 1850-1899 (Morice et al. 2012) with the grey area representing the 95% confidence range, 2) Red line – MLOST from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Centre, baseline period 1880-1899 (Smith et al., 2008), and 3) Blue line - GISSTemp from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies, baseline period 1880-1899 (Hansen et al., 2010). Upper graph shows anomalies and lower graph shows decadal average anomalies for the same datasets. Europe is defined as the area between 35° to 70° North and -25° to 30° East, plus Turkey (35° to 40° North and 30° to 45° East).

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European average air temperature anomalies (1850 to 2012) in °C over land areas only, for annual (upper), winter (middle) and summer (lower) periods

Note: European average air temperature anomalies (1850 to 2012) in °C over land areas only, for annual (upper), winter (middle) and summer (lower) periods relative to pre-industrial baseline period. 1) Black line - HadCRUT4 from the UK Met Office Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit, baseline period 1850-1899 (Morice et al. 2012) with the grey area representing the 95% confidence range, 2) Red line – MLOST from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Centre, baseline period 1880-1899 (Smith et al., 2008), and 3) Blue line - GISSTemp from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies, baseline period 1880-1899 (Hansen et al., 2010).

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Projected changes in annual near-surface temperature for periods 2021–2050 and 2071–2100

Note: Projected changes in annual near-surface air temperature (°C) using multi-model ensemble average of RCM simulations for the period 2021-2050 (left) and 2071-2100 (right). Model simulations of the EU-ENSEMBLES project using the IPCC SRES A1B emission scenario for the periods 1961-1990, 2021-2050 and 2071-2100 (van der Linden and Mitchell, 2009).

Data source:
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Trends in warm days across Europe

Note: How to read the map: Warm days are defined as being above the 90th percentile of the daily maximum temperature. Grid boxes outlined in solid black contain at least 3 stations and so are likely to be more representative of the grid-box. Higher confidence in the long-term trend is shown by a black dot. Area averaged annual time series of percentage changes and trend lines are shown below each map for one area in northern Europe (Green line, 5.6 to 16.9 E and 56.2 to 66.2 N) and one in south-western Europe (Pink line, 350.6 to 1.9 E and 36.2 to 43.7 N).

Data source:
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Trends in cool nights across Europe

Note: How to read the map: Cool nights are defined as being below the 10th percentile of the daily minimum temperature. Grid boxes outlined in solid black contain at least 3 stations and so are likely to be more representative of the grid-box. Higher confidence in the long-term trend is shown by a black dot. Area averaged annual time series of percentage changes and trend lines are shown below each map for one area in northern Europe (Green line, 5.6 to 16.9 E and 56.2 to 66.2 N) and one in south-western Europe (Pink line, 350.6 to 1.9 E and 36.2 to 43.7 N).

Data source:
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Projections of extreme temperatures as represented by the combined number of hot summer (June-August) days (TMAX>35°C) and tropical nights (TMIN>20°C)

Note: Maps show changes in extreme temperature for two future periods, relative to 1961-1990. Extreme temperatures are represented by the combined number of hot summer (June-August) days (TMAX>35°C) and tropical nights (TMIN>20°C). All projections are the average of 5 Regional Climate Model simulations of the EU-ENSEMBLES project using the IPCC SRES A1B emission scenario for the periods 1961-90, 2021-2050 and 2071-2100 (Fischer and Schär, 2010).

Data source:
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Specific assessment

Annual and seasonal average in Europe

Past trends

The decadal average temperature over European land areas increased by approximately 1.3°C (±0.11 °C) between pre-industrial times and the decade of 2003 to 2012 (Figure 3). The interannual temperature variability over Europe is generally much higher in winter (Figure 4 middle) than in summer. The relatively rapid warming trend since the 1980s is most clearly evident in the summer (Figure 4 lower).

Particularly large warming has been observed in the past 50 years over the Iberian Peninsula, across central and north-eastern Europe, and in mountainous regions. Over the past 30 years, warming was the strongest over Scandinavia, especially in winter, whereas the Iberian Peninsula warmed mostly in summer (Haylock et al., 2008) (Figure 5).


Projections:

Similar to the global temperature, the average temperature over Europe is projected to continue increasing throughout the 21st century. According to results from the ENSEMBLES project (van der Linden and Mitchell, 2009) the annual average land temperature over Europe is projected to increase by more than land global temperature. By the 2021-2050 period , temperature increases of between 1.0°C and 2.5°C (Figure 6 left) are noted across Europe, and by 2071-2100 this increases to between 2.5°C and 4.0°C (Figure 6 right). These results were 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.

In addition, the average changes projected by six Regional Climate Models (RCMs) used in the EU ENSEMBLES project indicate that pronounced warming of up to 6.0°C (compared to the 1961-1990 average) is projected over southernmost Europe during summer (June to August) (Fischer and Schär, 2010). This analysis also showed that the day-to-day variability in temperature is projected the increase the most across the northern Mediterranean coastal region, as a result of changes in atmospheric circulation and the transition from wet to dry soil moisture, which has also been noted as an important mechanism influencing recent European heat waves (Fisher et al. 2007).

Temperature extremes in Europe

Past trends:

Consistent with the general warming trend observed across Europe, historic records also show that extreme high-temperatures, e.g. number of warm days and nights, and heat waves, have become more frequent, while extreme low-temperatures, e.g. cool days and nights, cold spells, and frost days, have become less frequent (Klein Tank et al. 2002; IPCC 2007a). The average length of summer heat waves over Western Europe doubled since 1880 and the frequency of hot days almost tripled (Della-Marta et al. 2007).

Since 1960, significant increases in the number of warm days (Figure 7), and decreases in the number of cool nights have been noted throughout Europe (Figure 8). Between 1960 and 2012 (December), the number of warm days across Europe increased by between 3 and 10 days per decade. Similarly, the number of cool nights decreased by between 2 and 9 days per decade. Spatially, western and central Europe have shown the largest increases in warm days/nights, and the Iberian peninsula, land areas to the south and east of the Mediterranean, north-western Europe and Scandinavia have shown the largest warming in cool days/nights.

Although the historic records show clear long-term warming trends across Europe, it is normal to observe considerable variability between and within years. In recent years for example, during 2011 average air temperature across most of Europe was well above (between 1-2°C) normal, yet during 2010 below average temperatures prevailed across much of northern, western and central Europe (WMO, 2011; WMO, 2012). Specifically, in Germany and France temperatures of 3°C and 5°C below average made it their coldest December 2010 for more than 40 years. In the UK, it was the coldest December for more than 100 years, and the second coldest in the 352-year long Central England Temperature record (WMO, 2011).

 

Projections:

Extreme high temperatures across Europe are projected to become more frequent and last longer during this century (IPCC 2007a, 2007b; Sillman and Roekner 2008; Haylock et al 2008; Fischer and Schär 2010). These changes are consistent with projections of future average warming, as well as observed trends over recent decades.

During the 1961 to 1990 period only a small area in southern Spain reached 50 days with both hot summer days and tropical nights. However, projections indicate (Fischer and Schär, 2010) that 50 days with these conditions would be common across most of the Mediterranean region by the 2071 to 2100 period (Figure 9).

Specific policy question: Answer to unknown question

Global average air temperature anomalies (1850 to 2012) in degrees Celsius (°C) relative to a pre-industrial baseline period

Note: Global average air temperature anomalies (1850 to 2012) in degrees Celsius (°C) relative to a pre-industrial baseline period for 3 analyses of observations: 1) Black line - HadCRUT4 from the UK Met Office Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit, baseline period 1850-1899 (Morice et al. 2012) with the grey area representing the 95% confidence range, 2) Red line – MLOST from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Centre, baseline period 1880-1899 (Smith et al., 2008), and 3) Blue line - GISSTemp from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies, baseline period 1880-1899 (Hansen et al., 2010). Upper graph shows annual anomalies and lower graph shows decadal average anomalies for the same datasets.

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Rate of change of global average temperature, 1850–2012 (in ºC per decade)

Note: Rates of change of global average temperature (1850 to 2012) in ºC per decade, based on 10-year running average of the 3 datasets: 1) Black line - HadCRUT4 from the UK Met Office Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit, baseline period 1850-1899 (Morice et al. 2012), 2) Red line – MLOST from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Centre, baseline period 1880-1899 (Smith et al., 2008), and 3) Blue line - GISSTemp from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies, baseline period 1880-1899 (Hansen et al., 2010).

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Specific assessment

Global assessment

Past trends

Since the end of 19th Century, records of global average temperature have shown long-term warming trends which have been especially rapid in the most recent decades. Relative to pre-industrial temperatures (taken here to be comparable with the earliest observations at the end of 19th Century), three independent analyses of global average (land and ocean) temperature using near-surface observation records:  HadCRUT4 (Morice et al. 2012); NOAA-NCDC (Smith et al. 2008); and NASA-GISS (Hansen et al. 2010), show similar amounts of warming of 0.76°C, 0.78°C, and 0.81°C, respectively, by the 2003 to 2012 decade (Figure 1). The estimates differ slightly because the underlying sources differ in their methods for analysing the data and handling data gaps.  This magnitude of warming corresponds to more than one third of the 2 °C warming permitted under the EU and UNFCCC 'global climate stabilization target'.

The rate at which the global average temperature has changed over the last 140 years is mostly positive, but some comparatively short periods of negative changes also occur. The positive trends occur for relatively long periods and reach peaks of around 0.2 °C per decade (Figure 2). This is at the indicative limit of the response capacity for ecosystems which is 0.2 °C per decade (WBGU, 2003; van Vliet and Leemans, 2006). In the last decade the rate of surface warming is seen to be falling, consistent with the slow down in the global average temperature rise, which is mostly due to heat transfer between upper and deep ocean waters (UK Met Office, 2013a).

Projections:

The global average temperature is projected to continue to increase throughout the 21st century, driven mainly by increases in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. Forced by a range of future possible emissions scenarios (IPCC, SRES scenarios), the warming averaged for the near future (2011-2030) compared to 1980-1999 is between +0.64°C and +0.69°C, which is consistent with that observed for the past few decades (IPCC, 2007). By the mid-century (2046-2065), projected increases of between +1.3°C and +1.8°C for the same models and scenarios were noted, and by the late 21st century (2090-2099), these ranged between +1.8°C and +4.0°C. 

These scenarios assume that no additional policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions are implemented and 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°C above pre-industrial levels is projected to be exceeded during the second half of this century and likely around 2050, for the all six IPCC scenarios.

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)
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