European Climate Now Warmer and Wetter

Over the course of the 20th century, Europe's weather grew warmer and in many places wetter. While temperatures increased across the entire continent, the extent of warming differed among regions and seasons.

The most pronounced and comprehensive warming trend was in winter, where on the whole, mean daily minimum and maximum temperatures rose by about 1 ° Celsius.

During summer the same measures gained about 0.8 °C in 100 years. Southern Europe experienced the biggest jump in winter extremes, with maximum daily temperatures climbing by as much as 4 °C. Daily temperature highs during summer increased substantially as well in Spain and Portugal.

Precipitation also intensified more in winter than in summer between 1901 and 2000, but not everywhere. Weather stations throughout central and western Europe gained 20 to 40 percent additional precipitation over their average seasonal totals measured between 1961 and 1990. From December to February, the region saw more days of rain or snowfall and more moisture dropped on stormy days. The United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Portugal and the Russian Federation did not show any consistent tendency, though, towards wetter winter weather.

Summer rainfall has also not increased everywhere, but did rise by 10 to 15% in eastern Europe. Less than 3% of Europe's weather stations, however, actually recorded drying trends over the century. Instead most areas saw no obvious change in the dampness of their climate.


Anders Moberg, Philip D. Jones, David Lister, Alexander Walther, Manola Brunet, Jucundus Jacobeit, Lisa V. Alexander, Paul M. Della-Marta, Jurg Luterbacher, Pascal Yiou, Deliang Chen, Albert M.G. Klein Tank, Oscar Saladie, Javier Sigro, Enric Aguilar, Hans Alexandersson, Carlos Almarza, Ingeborg Auer, Mariano Barriendos, Michael Begert, Hans Bergstrom, Reinhard Bohm, C.J. Butler, John Caesar, Achim Drebs, Dmitra Founda, Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengarbe, Giusi Micela, Maurizio Maugeri, Hermann Osterle, Kreso Pandzic, Michael Petrakis, Lidija Srnec, Radim Tolasz, Heikki Tuomenvirta, Peter C. Werner, Hans Linderholm, Andreas Philipp, Heinz Wanner and Elena Xoplaki. 2006. Indices for daily temperature and precipitation extremes in Europe analyzed for the period 1901-2000. Journal of Geophysical Research. 111: D22106.

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