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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
6-Mar-2014

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Contact: Michael Bishop
michael.bishop@iop.org
01-179-301-032
Institute of Physics
@PhysicsNews

Researchers map European climate change

The majority of Europe will experience higher warming than the global average if surface temperatures rise to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, according to a new study published today.

Under such a scenario, temperatures greater than the 2 °C global average will be experienced in Northern and Eastern Europe in winter and Southern Europe in summer; however, North-Western Europe--specifically the UK--will experience a lower relative warming.

The study, which has been published today, 7 March, in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters, also shows that in the summer, daily maximum temperatures could increase by 3𔃂 °C over South-Eastern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula and rise well above 40 °C in regions that already experience some of the highest temperatures in Europe, such as Spain, Portugal and France. Such higher temperatures will increase evaporation and drought.

In the winter, the maximum daily temperatures could increase by more than 6 °C across Scandinavia and Russia.

Lead author of the research Robert Vautard, from Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (CEA/CNRS/UVSQ), said: "The 2 °C warming target has mainly been decided among nations as a limit not to exceed in order to avoid possibly dangerous climate change. However, the consequences of such a warming, at the scale of a continent like Europe, have not yet been quantified.

"We find that, even for such an ambitious target as 2 °C, changes in European climate are significant and will lead to significant impacts."

The study also shows that there will be a robust increase in precipitation over Central and Northern Europe in the winter and Northern Europe in the summer, and that most of the continent will experience an increase in instances of extreme precipitation, increasing the flood risks which are already having significant economic consequences.

Southern Europe is an exception, and will experience a general decline in mean precipitation.

To arrive at their conclusions, the researchers used an ensemble of 15 regional climate models to simulate climate changes under an A1B scenario, which represents rapid economic growth and a balanced approach to energy sources.

In addition to temperature and precipitation changes that may occur, the researchers also investigated atmospheric circulation and winds, but found no significant changes.

"Even if the 2 °C goal is achieved, Europe will experience impacts, and these are likely to exacerbate existing climate vulnerability. Further work on identifying key hotspots, potential impacts and advancing carefully planned adaptation is therefore needed," the researchers write in their study.

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From Friday 7 March, this paper can be downloaded from http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/9/3/034006/article

Notes to Editors

Contact

1. For further information, a full draft of the journal paper or contact with one of the researchers, contact IOP Press Officer, Michael Bishop: Tel: 0117 930 1032 E-mail: michael.bishop@iop.org For more information on how to use the embargoed material above, please refer to our embargo policy.

IOP Publishing Journalist Area

2. The IOP Publishing Journalist Area gives journalists access to embargoed press releases, advanced copies of papers, supplementary images and videos. In addition to this, a weekly news digest is uploaded into the Journalist Area every Friday, highlighting a selection of newsworthy papers set to be published in the following week. Login details also give free access to IOPscience, IOP Publishing's journal platform. To apply for a free subscription to this service, please email Michael Bishop, IOP Press Officer, michael.bishop@iop.org, with your name, organisation, address and a preferred username.

The European climate under a 2 °C global warming

3. The published version of the paper 'The European climate under a 2 °C global warming' (Robert Vautard, Andreas Gobiet, Stefan Sobolowski, Erik Kjellström, Annemiek Stegehuis, Paul Watkiss, Thomas Mendlik, Oskar Landgren, Grigory Nikulin, Claas Teichmann and Daniela Jacob Environ. Res. Lett. 9 034006) will be freely available online from Friday 7 March. It will be available at http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/9/3/034006/article

Environmental Research Letters

4. Environmental Research Letters is an open access journal that covers all of environmental science, providing a coherent and integrated approach including research articles, perspectives and editorials.

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5. IOP Publishing provides a range of journals, magazines, websites and services that enable researchers and research organisations to reach the widest possible audience for their research. We combine the culture of a learned society with global reach and highly efficient and effective publishing systems and processes. With offices in the UK, US, Germany, China and Japan, and staff in many other locations including Mexico and Russia, we serve researchers in the physical and related sciences in all parts of the world. IOP Publishing is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Institute of Physics. The Institute is a leading scientific society promoting physics and bringing physicists together for the benefit of all. Any profits generated by IOP Publishing are used by the Institute to support science and scientists in both the developed and developing world. Go to ioppublishing.org.

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6. Access to Research is an initiative through which the UK public can gain free, walk-in access to a wide range of academic articles and research at their local library. This article is freely available through this initiative. For more information, go to http://www.accesstoresearch.org.uk

The Institute of Physics

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