How much is Europe warming?

European Environmental Agency


With Europe in the news with record heatwaves we turn to the European Environmental Agency to get a sense of changes in temperature in Europe.  The graph here from their page Heating and cooling degree days shows changes in heating degree days (HDD) and cooling degree days (CDD) weighted by population.

Figure 1 further illustrates that HDDs and CDDs did not show a clear trend in the period 1950–1980. (The declining trend for CDDs shown in Figure 1 (right panel) is highly sensitive to the choice of start year). Since the beginning of the 1980s, however, Europe has started experiencing a markedly declining overall trend in HDDs, and a markedly increasing trend in CDDs, which points to a general increase in cooling needs and a general decrease in heating needs.

Several model-based studies agree that the projected changes in temperature reduce the total energy demand in cold countries, such as Norway, whereas total energy demand increases in warm countries, such as Italy or Spain. The studies also agree that increases or decreases in total energy or electricity demand at the national level as a result of climate change alone will be below 5 % by the middle of the century [iv]. Although these changes are rather minor, adaptation needs can arise from their combination with socio-economic changes (e.g. increased availability of cooling systems) and from changes in peak energy demand.

There is an interactive version of the graph here with a table option for the data.

About Thomas J. Pfaff

Thomas J. Pfaff is a Professor of Mathematics at Ithaca College. He created this website because he believes that sustainability, ranging from climate change to social justice, should be included in all courses whenever possible.

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