Hottest days in some parts of Europe have warmed four times more than the global average

September 11, 2013, University of Warwick

Some of the hottest days and coldest nights in parts of Europe have warmed more than four times the global average change since 1950, according to a new paper by researchers from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Warwick, which is published today (11 September 2013) in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

The researchers translated observations of weather into observations of using a gridded of observations stretching back to 1950. The hottest 5 per cent of days in summer have warmed fastest in a band from southern England and northern France to Denmark. By contrast, the average and slightly hotter than average days have warmed most in regions further south in France and Germany. In eastern Spain and central Italy there has been broad warming across all types of days, but in most places those days which are cooler than average have not warmed so much.

The paper points out that some locations and temperature thresholds have seen little change since 1950. The authors suggest that the results highlight the scale of the difference between and the local climate changes felt by individuals.

Dr. David Stainforth, the lead author on the paper, said: "Climate is fundamentally the distributions of weather. As climate changes, the distributions change. But they don't just shift, they change shape. How they change shape depends on where you are. In Britain, climate change will feel very different if you live in Northumbria to if you live in Oxfordshire; different again in Devon."

He added: "Our results also illustrate that the international goal of limiting the increase in global to 2°C would involve far greater changes for some places and for some aspects of climate, and therefore for particular individuals, communities and industries."

This paper presents maps of the of such climatic distributions for summer and winter, daytime and night-time temperatures, across Europe. It uses a new method developed by this interdisciplinary team and reported in a paper by the same authors which was published in the journal 'Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society' earlier this year.

Professor Sandra Chapman, another author of the paper, said: "It is common to discuss climate change in terms of changes in global average temperatures but these can be far from people's perceptions of climate change. The results in this paper begin to provide a picture of how local climate has been changing across Europe. It is a picture which is closer to that experienced by individuals."

Dr. Stainforth described the relevance of the work: "Changes in local climate pose challenges for decision makers across society not just when preparing for the climate of the future but even when planning for the climate of today. We need to design buildings so that they don't overheat, decide which are the best crops to plant, and even plan for variations in large scale productivity. These would all benefit from knowledge of how the climate distribution has changed at particular locations. This work begins to provide such information."

The authors expect the research to be of great value for 'climate services', the provision of information which helps organisations prepare for a climate which is already different from the past and will inevitably change more in the future. The World Meteorological Organisation and many national organisations, such as the UK Met Office, are investing substantially in the provision of such information.

In addition to their value for planners making climate sensitive decisions, these results should help researchers understand the way large scale changes in climate can be related to changes at local scales. As part of that process they will provide a valuable reality check when evaluating the results of complicated computer models of the system.

The paper also present the results for changes in the frequency of nights which fall below freezing in winter and days which rise above 28 degrees in summer. These are two thresholds which are important for many impacts such as the availability of snow in ski resorts, building design, and labour productivity.

Other regional highlights from the paper include:

  • A band from southern England / northern France, across the low countries and northern Germany, to Denmark has experienced the greatest increase in temperatures in the hottest summer days. In this band, the hottest 5 per cent of days have got hotter by more than 2°C in many places.
  • The region of greatest change in average summer daytime temperatures is further south in central France and Germany.
  • Most regions of Europe have seen little change in the temperatures of the coolest summer days although in eastern Spain and central Italy these days have warmed along with all other types of summer days. Average temperature days in these regions of eastern Spain and central Italy have warmed by more than 2°C in many locations.
  • The results show little warming in summer daytime temperatures for most locations in Norway and Sweden, for all types of summer days – hot, average and cool.
  • In Europe, the coldest 5 per cent of winter nights have warmed most in eastern France, western Germany and Belgium where changes of over 2 or even 2.5°C are not uncommon. The coldest 5 per cent of winter days have not changed as much in these regions but in northern Italy and the Balkans changes of over 1.5 or 2°C are seen in the data.
  • In Spain and much of Italy there has been little change in winter night time temperatures of all types – warm, average and cool.
  • In Norway and Sweden many regions have seen large (> 2°C) changes in winter night time temperatures for average and colder than average nights. Warmer than average nights in this region have warmed less.
  • In the United Kingdom the frequency of nights which fall below zero has decreased most substantially in the north east where reductions of at least 10 per cent are seen in the observations for some locations.

Explore further: Heatwaves: Longer, hotter and more common

More information: 'Mapping climate change in European temperature distributions', Environmental Research Letters, 2013.

Related Stories

The hottest summer on record: Experts react

March 1, 2013

Data analysis from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed last summer was the hottest on record, with January the hottest month recorded since 1910, when records began.

Climate change evident across Europe, report says

November 26, 2012

Climate change is affecting all regions in Europe, causing a wide range of impacts on society and the environment. Further impacts are expected in the future, potentially causing high damage costs, according to the latest ...

Marine life spawns sooner as oceans warm

August 6, 2013

Warming oceans are impacting the breeding patterns and habitat of marine life, effectively re-arranging the broader marine landscape as species adjust to a changing climate, according to a three-year international study published ...

Recommended for you

Scientists solve mystery shrouding oldest animal fossils

March 25, 2019

Scientists from The Australian National University (ANU) have discovered that 558 million-year-old Dickinsonia fossils do not reveal all of the features of the earliest known animals, which potentially had mouths and guts.

Earth's deep mantle flows dynamically

March 25, 2019

As ancient ocean floors plunge over 1,000 km into the Earth's deep interior, they cause hot rock in the lower mantle to flow much more dynamically than previously thought, finds a new UCL-led study.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1.8 / 5 (16) Sep 12, 2013
Actual link: http://iopscience...3/034031

Environmental Research Letters currently features a home page video abstract of one of the worst Global Warming consensus frauds of all time by Evangelical Christian "scientist" John Cook:

For the record....that is who authors Stainforth and Chapman now associate with.

In other news, eight hundred million people are now promised enough food in the coming decade exactly because the Global Warming scam has been exposed as such and the $40B allocated for climate control is now being reallocated to feed the poor:

Junk science alarm is genocidal.

An amusing debunking of Cook's 97% consensus study of the scientific literature by Christopher Monckton whose facts act as daylight acts on vampires for true believers:
3.5 / 5 (11) Sep 15, 2013
In other news,
A band from southern England / northern France, across the low countries and northern Germany, to Denmark has experienced the greatest increase in temperatures in the hottest summer days. In this band, the hottest 5 per cent of days have got hotter by more than 2°C in many places.

3.5 / 5 (11) Sep 16, 2013
Also in other news;
In Europe, the coldest 5 per cent of winter nights have warmed most in eastern France, western Germany and Belgium where changes of over 2 or even 2.5°C are not uncommon.

It's starting to sound like a trend. Uncommonly hot temperatures in some areas, and not as cool nighttime temps in others. That's not "Junk science alarm". That is recent weather observations for areas which happen to trend with predictions of 99% of climate science models. If anything, the climate is responding much faster to the man made CO2 thermal blankets than was expected.

3.7 / 5 (12) Sep 16, 2013
"An amusing debunking of Cook's 97% consensus study of the scientific literature by Christopher Monckton" - NikkieTard

This would be the same Christopher Monckton who claimed to have discovered a miracle tonic that would cure cancer and aids?

Meanwhile from NikkieTard's own link.

"Study reveals scientific consensus on climate change"

"New research published in ERL featuring a comprehensive analysis of peer reviewed articles on the topic of global warming and climate change has revealed an overwhelming conensis among scientists that recent warming is human caused."

Poor Nikkie Tard. Not even his own References agree with him.

How does he manage to feed himself?
3.7 / 5 (6) Sep 16, 2013
And as further debunking of @Nik's junk science continues, more data pours in. It doesn't support @Nik's POV at all.

4 / 5 (4) Sep 16, 2013
Neinsense99: I wish I could have given you a 10 for the information on "Lord" Monckton. Not only is he technically unsound, he also has a "holier than thou" attitude that reeks of a royal wanabe. It is perfect that he claims to be a Lord at the same time he claims to know something about science. Both claims are clearly false.
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 17, 2013
DruidDrudge: You posted the following

What a crock in that interpretation. Try this site:

Just follow nsidc for a while and read their commentary and, even you, will have to realize that the increase still puts this year in the 6th lowest position since accurate records started being kept. You and Monkton seem to have a lot in common. Do you also claim to be a royal?

With last year as the record holder for low arctic ice by a huge margin, everyone expected this year to recover some. Anyone who sees the recovery as the beginning of a new ice age is nuts. Do you want to make a prediction about next year?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.