Europe’s climate continues to change

Europe’s climate continues to change


The period from 2004-2013 was the warmest decade on record in Europe. Many other changes significant for Europe have been observed across the climate system, including warming oceans, rising sea level and shrinking snow cover, ice sheets, sea ice and glaciers.

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In the last decade global near-surface average annual temperature was 0.75 - 0.81 °C warmer than the pre-industrial average. Other records have been broken in recent months – global average temperatures in May and June 2014 were the highest monthly averages ever recorded, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.

These are a few of the many trends featured in 13 climate change indicators recently published by the European Environment Agency (EEA). Using graphs, maps and concise analysis, the indicators demonstrate some of the most important observations and projections of climate change and its impacts.

The update also improves projections of future climate change. Global sea-level rise projections have been revised upwards, based on new climate models that better represent the effects of melting ice sheets on sea level rise. This indicator now also includes regional sea-level rise projections for the European regional seas. In addition, several indicators now include projections of further snow and ice decline. For example, if greenhouse gases continue to be emitted at high levels, the Arctic Ocean is projected to be nearly ice-free every September before mid-century.

In many cases, the indicators feature information from the recent Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the physical science of climate change published in September 2013, although several indicators have been updated with even more recent information and adding trends and projections relevant for Europe.

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