Summer days ‘four times hotter’ across some parts of Europe

Scientists exploring regional impacts of climate change find summer temperatures soar from southern England to Denmark

Pic: flickr / radu

The hottest days across some of Europe have warmed more than four times since the 1950s, say scientists.

A band from southern England, across the low countries, leading over to Denmark, has experienced the greatest increase in temperature in the hottest 5% of summer days, which in some places have warmed by more than 2C.

Further south in central France and Germany, it is the average summer days that have seen the greatest increase in temperature since the 1950s, while most regions in Europe have seen little change in their coolest summer days.

In Norway and Sweden, there has been little change in temperatures for all types of summer days – hot, average and cool.

The scientists, from the Grantham Research Institute and Warwick University, have been studying the effect of global climate change on local weather.

They found that climate change also varied regionally when assessing the data of the coolest summer day averages. Their findings are published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

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.”

Looking at climate change on such a small scale helps decision makers respond to climate change across all levels of community planning.

For instance, the paper’s results for the changes in frequency of nights which fall below freezing in winter and days which rise about 28C in summer has implications for building design, labour productivity and the availability of snow in ski resorts.

Stainforth says: “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.”

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