Surface temperatures

Temperature has been monitored since the invention of the thermometer in the 17th century. Recent decades show a clear increase of global and European temperature. EURO4M seeks to develop high-resolution datasets for many of the Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) that have been recognized in the implementation plan of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). Since the late 19th century, the measurements of the surface temperature have been standardized by many of the European National Meteorological Services (NMSs). Observations are made at measuring sites, but climatologists find gridded datasets much easier to use for many applications from online monitoring and climate model validation, to the detection and attribution of the causes of change.

For temperature, gridded datasets are available at a variety of resolutions depending on the purpose of analysis: regular latitude/longitude grids (half degree) or exactly the same grid used by the climate modellers. Across Europe, the volume of data available for free use by climatologists varies considerably. Climatologists accept that some NMSs impose restrictions on data use and circumvent the issues by developing gridded products such as the E-OBS and the CRU TS temperature datasets. Within EURO4M these popular datasets are further improved.

An interactive web-based tool to visualize daily maps of temperature, precipitation, and surface pressure has been developed based on the E-OBS dataset.

Map of daily gridded average temperature
Map of daily gridded average temperature in Europe on 30 June 2012, produced by the new E-OBS interactive visualisation tool, accessible via (source: KNMI)

Variations in temperatures
The station network in Europe and North Africa available to the CRU TS 3.0 dataset and the annual time series for 4 regions: Northern Europe, Central/Middle Europe, Western and Eastern Mediterranean. The magnitude of year-to-year variations in temperature differs considerable. Each region shows overall warming with strongest decadal trends after 1980. (Source: UEA-CRU)