Climate Dynamics

, Volume 20, Issue 7–8, pp 723–739 | Cite as

Mediterranean summer air temperature variability and its connection to the large-scale atmospheric circulation and SSTs

  • E. Xoplaki
  • J. F. González-Rouco
  • J. Luterbacher
  • H. Wanner


The interannual and decadal variability of summer (June to September) air temperature over the Mediterranean area is analyzed for the period 1950 to 1999. The combined influence of the large-scale atmospheric circulation at different levels and thermic predictors (thickness patterns and Mediterranean SSTs) on station temperature data is assessed by means of optimal objective techniques. The validity of the statistical models has been evaluated through cross-validation. Three large-scale predictor fields (300 hPa geopotential height, 700–1000 hPa thickness and SSTs) account for more than 50% of the total summer temperature variability. The positive phase of the first canonical mode is associated with blocking conditions, subsidence and stability related to warm Mediterranean summers. The second CCA mode shows an east–west dipole of the Mediterranean summer air temperature connected by a combination of a trough as well as an extended ridge over the western and eastern parts of the Mediterranean, respectively. Though both modes are found to contribute to long-term summer temperature trends in the 1950–1999 period, it is shown that the first canonical mode is mainly responsible for the 0.4 °C warming (significant at the 95% level) over the last 50 years of the twentieth century. Further, the analysis reveals that the Mediterranean summer temperatures were higher in the 1860s, 1950s and 1990s and lower around 1910 and in the 1970s. A significant temperature increase of 0.5 °C (0.27 °C) is found for the 1900–1999 (1850–1999) period.



The authors wish to express their thanks to the following institutions or persons, who kindly provided their valuable climate time series, through which the climate analysis for the Mediterranean region were made possible (in alphabetical order of the countries): Albania: Prof. Sanxhaku, Academy of Sciences, Hydrometeorological Institute, Tirana; Algeria: Dr. M. Kadi, Office National de la Météorologie Climate Center, Dar el Beida, Algiers Austria: Dres. I. Auer, R. Böhm and W. Schöner, Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik (ZAMG), Vienna; Bosnia-Herzegovina: Dr. E. Sarac, Federal Meteorological Institute, Sarajevo; Bulgaria: National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia and D. Lister, Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK; Croatia: Dr. M. Gajic-Capka, Meteorological and Hydrological Service of Croatia, Department for Meteorological Research, Zagreb; Cyprus: Dr. L. Hadjioannou, Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Meteorological Service, Nicosia; Greece: Hellenic National Meteorological Service, Hellinikon, Athens; Israel: Dr. A. Porat, Ministry of Transport, Israel Meteorological Service, Bet Dagan; Italy: Colonel Dr. M. Capaldo, Aeronautica Militare, Centro Nazionale di Meteorologia e Climatologia Aeronautica Aeroporto Pratica di Mare, Pomezia; Jordan: Dr. H. AL Sha'er, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Meteorological Department, Climate Division Amman Civil Airport, Amman; Lebanon: Dr. A. Bejjani, Republic of Lebanon, Ministry of Transport, Meteorological Services, Beirut; Libya: Dr. K. Elfadli, Libyan Meteorological Department, Climatological and Agrometeorological Section, Tripoli; Moldavia: Dr. L. Fisher, Hidrometeo Service (Chimet), Chisinau; Romania: Dr. A. Busuioc, National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, Bucharest; Skopje: Dr. N. Aleksovska, Hydrometeorological Institute of the FYR Macedonia, Meteorological and Climatological division, Skopje; Slovenia: Dres. T. Ovsenik-Jegliè, J. Miklavčič and B. Zupančič, Hydrometeorological Institute of Slovenia, Ministry of the environment and Physical Planning, Ljubliana; Switzerland: Swiss Meteorological Office (MeteoSchweiz), Zurich; Tunisia: Dr. M. Ketata and Prof. H. Hajji, République tunesienne, Ministère de Transport, Institute National de la Météorologique, Tunis-Carthage. For Egypt, France, Hungary, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Serbia, Syria and Turkey the data have been obtained from the GHCN (Global Historical Climatology Network) version 2 and/or where kindly provided by the German Meteorological Service (DWD), Geschäftsfeld Seeschifffahrt and David Lister, Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. Tommaso Abrate, Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, WMO, Geneva, Switzerland, provided us with addresses and relevant information on how to contact the responsible persons and institutions from the different countries. Dr. J. Fidel González-Rouco was partially funded by project REN-2000-0786-cli and Dr. Jürg Luterbacher was supported by the Swiss NCCR Climate programme.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Xoplaki
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. F. González-Rouco
    • 3
  • J. Luterbacher
    • 1
    • 4
  • H. Wanner
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Hallerstrasse 12, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  2. 2.Department of Meteorology and Climatology, University of Thessaloniki, Greece
  3. 3.Departamento de Astrofísica y Ciencias de la Atmósfera, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
  4. 4.NCCR Climate, University of Bern, Switzerland

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