Europe Is Warming Faster Than Even Climate Models Projected

Land surface temperatures during a heat wave in Europe on July 25.

Land surface temperatures during a heat wave in Europe on July 25. Copernicus Sentinel data/ESA

Climate change is raising temperatures in Europe even faster than climate models projected, according to new research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The number of summer days with extreme heat in Europe has tripled since the 1950s, while the number of days with extreme cold more than halved.

Extremely hot days in Europe have become hotter by an average of 4.14 degrees Fahrenheit, the study found, while extremely cold days have warmed by 5.4 degrees F. The research examined data from weather stations across Europe from 1950 to 2018, with more than 90 percent of stations showing that the climate was warming.

“Even at this regional scale over Europe, we can see that these trends are much larger than what we would expect from natural variability,” Ruth Lorenz, a climate scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and lead author of the new study, said in a statement. “That’s really a signal from climate change.”

The research comes after an extremely hot summer in Europe. Southern France hit 114.8 degrees F — a new record — in late June. Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium also recorded all-time national temperature highs. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently announced that July was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth.

“In the Netherlands, Belgium, France, the model trends are about two times lower than the observed trends,” said Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, a climate analyst at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute in De Bilt, Netherlands, who was not connected to the new study. “We’re reaching new records faster than you’d expect.”