, Volume 112, Issue 3-4, pp 617-628,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 06 Sep 2012

Exceptionally hot summers in Central and Eastern Europe (1951–2010)

Abstract

The paper focuses on exceptionally hot summers (EHS) as a manifestation of contemporary climate warming. The study identifies EHS occurrences in Central and Eastern Europe and describes the characteristic features of the region’s thermal conditions. Average air temperatures in June, July and August were considered, as well as the number of days with maximum temperatures exceeding 25, 30 and 35 °C, and with a minimum temperature greater than >20 °C, as recorded at 59 weather stations in 1951–2010. Extremely hot summers are defined as having an average temperature equal to or greater than the long-term average plus 2 SD. A calendar of EHSs was compiled and their spatial extent identified. The region experienced 12 EHSs, which occurred in a given year at 5 % or more stations (1972, 1981, 1988, 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2010). The EHS frequency of occurrence was found to be clearly on an increase. Indeed, only one EHS occurred during the first 30 years, but these occurred five times during the last 10 years of the study period. Their geographical extent varied both in terms of location and size. EHSs were observed at 57 out of the total of 59 weather stations in the study (the exceptions were Pecora and Cluj). The average air temperature of EHSs tended to exceed the relevant long-term average by 2–4 °C. The summer of 2010 was among the hottest (temperature anomaly 5.5–6 °C) and spatially largest.