Climate Dynamics

, Volume 35, Issue 7–8, pp 1191–1205 | Cite as

Future changes in Central Europe heat waves expected to mostly follow summer mean warming

  • Joan BallesterEmail author
  • Xavier Rodó
  • Filippo Giorgi


Daily output from the PRUDENCE ensemble of regional climate simulations for the end of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries over Europe is used to show that the increasing intensity of the most damaging summer heat waves over Central Europe is mostly due to higher base summer temperatures. In this context, base temperature is defined as the mean of the seasonal cycle component for those calendar days when regional heat waves occur and is close, albeit not identical, to the mean temperature for July–August. Although 36–47% of future Central Europe July and August days at the end of the twenty-first century are projected to be extreme according to the present day climatology, specific changes in deseasonalized heat wave anomalies are projected to be relatively small. Instead, changes in summer base temperatures appear much larger, clearly identifiable and of the same order of magnitude as changes in the whole magnitude of heat waves. Our results bear important consequences for the predictability of central European heat wave intensity under global warming conditions.


Climate change Heat wave Regional Climate Model Multi-model ensemble Temperature seasonal cycle Deseasonalized temperature anomalies 



J.B. acknowledges support from the European Science Foundation (Exchange grant, Ref. 1464), the Catalan Ministry of University and Research and the support by the Spanish Ministry of Science through the PANDORA project. Climate simulations have been provided through the PRUDENCE data archive, funded by the EU through contract EVK2-CT2001-00132. We also acknowledge the observed dataset from the EU-FP6 project ENSEMBLES ( and the data providers in the ECA&D project (


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut Català de Ciències del Clima (IC3)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical PhysicsTriesteItaly

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