Measures of global average temperatures obscure significant variations in local climate changes: a recent study by researchers at LSE found that regions are warming at different paces. Using specific thresholds (e.g. number of days above 28ºC or nights that fall below freezing) and quantiles (hottest/coldest 5% of days), the researchers were able to interrogate the varied regional changes in climate over the last 60 years, showing how they differ from global averages. The response is greatest in a band from southern England and northern France to Denmark, where the hottest days have changed by at least 2ºC. Winter nights are warming fastest in Scandinavia, by more than 2ºC in both Sweden and Norway, where summer changes have been small to immeasurable. Overall, the increase of hotter days in summer and decrease in colder nights in winter is four times greater than the world averages for that period.
There is a need for better understanding local specifics, rather than global averages, if we are to build appropriately, plant the right crops (the nascent wine region in southern England celebrated a record harvest this year), and plan for health and productivity of populations.
- Climate News Network: Parts of Europe heating faster than global average
- Environmental Research Letters: Mapping climate change in European temperature distributions