University of Melbourne climate change researchers say 2014 will be Europe’s hottest year on record

22 December 2014

There is evidence that human-induced climate change has played a significant role in Europe’s hottest year on record.
The data comes from three teams of scientists across the world that each used different methodologies to come to this conclusion.

University of Melbourne environmental sciences
Inside the Melbourne Graduate School of Science

Scientists from the University of Melbourne and Australian National University joined with those at University of Oxford and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) to conduct independent assessments of the data, using different approaches involving statistical analyses of the historical temperature record and the results of thousands of simulations with state-of-the-art climate models.
“It is clear that human influences on climate have been the dominant factor in breaking of the previous record temperature averaged across Europe,” said Professor David Karoly, Research Director at the University of Melbourne’s European Union Centre on Shared Complex Challenges.
“This is further evidence that climate change is affecting all regions and an indication that urgent action from all national governments is needed to slow global warming by reducing greenhouse gasses.”
The Melbourne team utilised hundreds of climate model simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5). They found that the odds of temperatures across Europe reaching these levels were increased by at least 35 times due to human influences on our climate.
“By comparing climate model simulations representing the world as it is with simulations of a world without humans, we show that the risk of record hot years like 2014 occurring has very likely increased by at least 35-fold,” said Andrew King, a climate scientist from the University of Melbourne who conducted the analysis.
The Dutch team used long records of observed temperatures across Europe and estimated that the chances of a very hot year like 2014 over Europe has been increased at least 80 times by the human influences on climate.
Using a large computing network (weather@home), Oxford scientists simulated possible European weather based on the observed global ocean temperatures. At the same time, they also simulated a 2014 where there is no human-influenced climate change. Comparing those two “worlds” they found that the 2014 European temperatures were much more likely in the world with climate change than the one without.
Nineteen European countries are very likely to see 2014 as their hottest year on record: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden (equal to 1953) and the United Kingdom.

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