Climate Science

Trop Chaud?

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Science  17 Aug 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5840, pp. 873
DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5840.873a

The summer of 2003 was the hottest on record in Europe over the past 500 years; the summer of 2006 was almost as hot, and the heat was even more widespread. Were these extremes part of a trend that can be expected to continue? Della-Marta et al. compiled 54 temperature records from western Europe (6 based in Scandanavia, 12 in the Iberian Peninsula, and 36 in the central region) to determine how the daily summer maximum temperatures there have changed since 1880. They found that the length of summer heat waves has doubled and that the frequency of hot days has nearly tripled over that interval. These changes are the result of a combination of a long-term trend toward higher temperatures and a significant increase in the intrinsic variability of western European daily summer maximum temperatures, particularly in the central region. — HJS

J. Geophys. Res. 112, D15103 (2007).

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