Warming during the summer months in Europe has been much faster than the global average. This is stated by several researchers from Stockholm University in a press release. This thesis was recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres. “As a result of human emissions of greenhouse gases, the climate across the continent has also become drier, especially in southern Europe, leading to worse heat waves and an increased risk of forest fires,” said Paul Glantz, associate professor of Environmental Science at Stockholm University.

According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warming over land areas is significantly faster than over oceans, averaging 1.6 and 0.9 degrees respectively. This means that the global greenhouse gas emissions budget to stay below a 1.5-degree warming on land has already been used up. Now the new study shows that the emissions budget to avoid a 2-degree warming in large parts of Europe during the summer half-year has also been used up. Indeed, measurements show that warming during the summer months has already exceeded two degrees in large parts of Europe over the past four decades.

Drier grounds and fewer clouds

A clear trend due to global warming is visible in southern Europe. In fact, warming is amplified by drier soil and reduced evaporation. Moreover, there is less cloud cover over large parts of Europe, probably due to less water vapour in the air. “What we are seeing in southern Europe is consistent with what the IPCC predicted, namely that a greater human impact on the greenhouse effect would result in dry regions of the earth becoming even drier,” said Paul Glantz.

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