In order to observe the geographical variation in climate change across Europe, the researchers used temperature records stretching back to 1950 to create a gridded dataset of observations. They found that the hottest five per cent of days in summer have warmed fastest in a band that runs from southern England and northern France to Denmark. Many areas within this band have seen temperatures on such days increase by more than 2°C. In contrast, most locations in Norway and Sweden have shown little warming in summer daytime temperatures, but have seen a more than 2°C change in winter night time temperatures for average and colder than average nights.
‘It’s 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,’ said Sandra Chapman of the University of Warwick, one of the paper’s co-authors. ‘The results in this paper begin to provide a picture of how local climate has been changing across Europe. It’s a picture that is closer to that experienced by individuals.’
This story was published in the November 2013 edition of Geographical Magazine