Climate Dynamics

, Volume 18, Issue 8, pp 675–691

Variability and trends of sub-continental scale surface climate in the twentieth century. Part I: observations

  •  F. Giorgi

DOI: 10.1007/s00382-001-0204-x

Cite this article as:
Giorgi, F. Climate Dynamics (2002) 18: 675. doi:10.1007/s00382-001-0204-x


An analysis is presented of observed temperature and precipitation variability and trends throughout the twentieth century over 22 land regions of sub-continental scale. Summer, winter and annual data are examined using a range of variability measures. Statistically significant warming trends are found over the majority of regions. The trends have a magnitude of up to 2 K per century and are maximum over cold climate regions. Only a few precipitation trends are statistically significant. Regional temperature and precipitation show pronounced variability at scales from interannual to multidecadal, with maximum over cold climate regions. The interannual variability shows significant variations and trends throughout the century, the latter being mostly negative for precipitation and both positive and negative for temperature. Temperature and precipitation anomalies show a chaotic-type behavior in which the regional conditions oscillate around the long term mean trend and occasionally fall into long-lasting (up to 10 years or more) anomaly regimes. A generally modest temporal correlation is found between anomalies of different regions and between temperature and precipitation anomalies for the same region. This correlation is mostly positive for temperature in cases of adjacent regions or regions in the same latitude belts. Several cases of negative inter-regional precipitation anomaly correlation are found. The ENSO significantly affects the anomaly variability patterns over a number of regions, primarily in tropical areas, while the NAO significantly affects the variability over northern mid- and high-latitude regions of Europe and Asia.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  •  F. Giorgi
    • 1
  1. 1.Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Physics of Weather and Climate Group, PO Box 586, 34100 Trieste, Italy