Climatic Change

, Volume 99, Issue 1–2, pp 211–227 | Cite as

Seasonal temperatures over Italy and their relationship with low-frequency atmospheric circulation patterns

  • Andrea Toreti
  • Franco Desiato
  • Guido Fioravanti
  • Walter Perconti


An analysis of Italian seasonal temperatures from 1961 to 2006 was carried out, using homogenized data from 49 synoptic stations well distributed throughout Italy. The results show remarkable differences among seasons. Stationarity characterizes winter series, except for Northern Italy (where a warming trend from 1961 is identified); a positive trend over the entire period is recognized for spring series. Summer series are marked by a negative trend until 1981 and by a positive trend afterwards; finally, autumn series show a warming starting from 1970. The relationship between seasonal temperatures and four teleconnection patterns (North Atlantic Oscillation, East Atlantic Pattern, Scandinavian Pattern and Arctic Oscillation) influencing European climate was investigated through Spearman rank correlation and composites. Among the results, the strong linear correlation with the East Atlantic Pattern in all seasons but autumn is remarkable; moreover, the explained variance varies between 31.9% and 50.4% (leaving out autumn). Besides these four atmospheric patterns the role of other factors (e.g. soil moisture) is not dealt with, but their importance and the need for more investigation is pointed out.


Change Point North Atlantic Oscillation Warming Trend Teleconnection Pattern Arctic Oscillation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abegg B, Agrawala S, Crick F, de Montfalcon A (2007) Climate change impacts and adaptation in winter tourism. In: Agrawala S (ed) Climate change in the European Alps: adapting winter tourism and natural hazards management. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris, pp 25–60Google Scholar
  2. Alexandersson H, Moberg A (1997) Homogenization of Swedish temperature data. Int J Climatol 17:25–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baccini M, Biggeri A, Accetta G, Kosatsky T, Katsouyanni K, Analitis A, Ross Anderson H, Bisanti L, D’Ippoliti D, Danova J, Forsberg B, Medina S, Paldy A, Rabczenko D, Schindler C, Michelozzi P (2008) Heat effects on mortality in 15 European cities. Epidemiology 19:711–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baffo F, Suatoni B, Desiato F (2005) Indicatori climatici: i controlli di validità e la ricerca dei valori errati. Boll Geofis 1, 2:31–41, anno XXVIIIGoogle Scholar
  5. Bai J, Perron P (1998) Estimating and testing linear models with multiple structural changes. Econometrica 66:47–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barnston AG, Livezey RE (1987) Classification, seasonality and persistence of low-frequency atmospheric circulation patterns. Mon Weather Rev 115:1083–1126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brohan P, Kennedy JJ, Harris I, Tett SFB, Jones PD (2006) Uncertainty estimates in regional and global observed temperature changes: a new dataset from 1850. J Geophys Res 111:D12106. doi: 10.129/2005JD006548 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brunetti M, Maugeri M, Monti F, Nanni T (2006) Temperature and precipitation variability in Italy in the last two centuries from homogenised instrumental time series. Int J Climatol 26:345–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cohen J, Barlow M (2005) The NAO, the AO, and global warming: how closely related? J Climate 18:4498–4513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Desiato F, Lena F, Toreti A (2007) SCIA: a system for a better knowledge of the Italian climate. Boll Geofis Teor Appl 48:351–358Google Scholar
  11. EEA (2008) Impacts of Europe’s changing climate—2008 indicator-based assessment. EEA Report 4:242Google Scholar
  12. Eischeid JK, Baker CB, Karl TR, Diaz HF (1995) The quality control of long-term climatological data using objective data analysis. J Appl Meteorol 34:2787–2795CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fischer EM, Seneviratne SI, Lüthi D, Schär C (2007) Contribution of land-atmosphere coupling to recent European summer heat waves. Geophys Res Lett 34:L06707. doi: 10.1029/2006GL029068 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Giraitis L, Leipus R, Philippe A (2006) A test for stationarity versus trend and unit root for a wide class of dependent error. Econom Theory 22:989–1029CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hurrell JW (1995) Decadal trends in the North Atlantic Oscillation: regional temperatures and precipitation. Science 269:676–679CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hurrell JW, Van Loon H (1997) Decadal variations in climate associated with the North Atlantic association. Clim Change 36:301–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hurrell JW, Kushnir Y, Visbeck M, Ottersen G (2003) An overview of the North Atlantic Oscillation. The North Atlantic Oscillation: climate significance and environmental impact. Geophys Monogr Series 134:1–35Google Scholar
  18. IPCC (2007) Summary for policymakers. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the forth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USAGoogle Scholar
  19. Jones PD, Osborn TJ, Briffa KR (2003) Pressure-based measurements of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). A comparison and an assessment of changes in the strength of the NAO and in its influence on surface climate parameters. In: Hurrell JW, Kushnir Y, Ottersen G, Visbeck M (eds) North Atlantic Oscillation: climatic significance and environmental impacts. Geophysical Monograph vol 134. American Geophysical Union, Washington, pp 51–62Google Scholar
  20. Kostrowicki J (1991) Trends in the transformation of European agriculture. In: Brower FM, Thomas AJ, Chadwick MJ (eds) Land use changes in Europe. The GeoJournal library, vol 18. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 21–47Google Scholar
  21. Lund R, Reeves J (2002) Detection of undocumented change points: a revision of the two phase regression model. J Climate 15:2547–2554CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Luterbacher J, Dietrich D, Xoplaki E, Grosjean M, Wanner H (2004) European seasonal and annual temperature variability, trends, and extremes since 1500. Science 303:1499–1503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Maracchi G, Sirotenko O, Bindi M (2005) Impacts of present and future climate variability on agriculture and forestry in the temperate regions: Europe. Clim Change 70:117–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Peterson T, Easterling D (1994) Creation of homogeneous composite climatological reference series. Int J Climatol 14:671–679CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pires CA, Perdigão RAP (2007) Non-gaussianity and asymmetry of the winter monthly precipitation estimation from NAO. Mon Weather Rev 135:430–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pozo-Vázquez D, Esteban-Parra MJ, Rodrigo FS, Castro-Diez Y (2001) A study of NAO variability and its possible non-linear influences on European surface temperature. Clim Dyn 17:701–715CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Quadrelli R, Pavan V, Molteni F (2001) Wintertime variability of Mediterranean precipitation and its link with large-scale circulation anomalies. Clim Dyn 17:457–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Reddaway JM, Bigg GR (1996) Climatic change over the Mediterranean and links to the more general atmospheric circulation. Int J Climatol 16:651–661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Seidel DJ, Lanzante JR (2004) An assessment of three alternatives to linear trends for characterizing global atmospheric temperature changes. J Geophys Res 109(D14):D14108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Shumway RH, Stoffer DS (2000) Time series analysis and its application. Springer, New York, p 549Google Scholar
  31. Smith EP, Rose KA (1991) Trend detection in the presence of covariates: stagewise versus multiple regression. Environmetrics 2:153–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Smith TM, Reynolds RW (2005) A global merged land and sea surface temperature reconstruction based on historical observations (1880–1997). J Climate 18:2021–2036CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sneyers R (1990) On the statistical analysis of series of observations. In: WMO, Technical Note, vol 143. WMO-415. Geneva, CH, p 192Google Scholar
  34. Thompson DWJ, Wallace JM (1998) The Arctic Oscillation signature in the wintertime geopotential height and temperature fields. Geophys Res Lett 25:1297–1300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tomé AR, Miranda PMA (2004) Piecewise linear fitting and trend changing points of climate parameters. Geophys Res Lett 31:L02207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Toreti A, Desiato F (2006) Homogenization and validity controls for temperature trend estimation over Italy. In: WMO fifth seminar for homogenization and quality control in climatological databases. Budapest, 29 May–2 JuneGoogle Scholar
  37. Toreti A, Desiato F (2008) Temperature trend over Italy from 1961 to 2004. Theor Appl Climatol 91:51–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Trenberth KE, Jones PD, Ambenje P, Bojariu R, Easterling D, Klein Tank A, Parker D, Rahimzadeh F, Renwick JA, Rusticucci M, Soden B, Zhai P (2007) Observations: surface and atmospheric climate change. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USAGoogle Scholar
  39. Trigo RM, Osborn TJ, Corte-Real JM (2002) The North Atlantic Oscillation influence on Europe: climate impacts and associated physical mechanisms. Clim Res 20:9–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Vogelsang TJ, Franses PH (2005) Are winters getting warmer? Environ Model Softw 20:1449–1455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wanner H, Brönnimann S, Casty C, Gyalistras D, Luterbacher J, Schmutz C, Stephenson DB, Xoplaki E (2001) North Atlantic Oscillation—concepts and studies. Surv Geophys 22:321–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wibig J (1999) Precipitation in Europe in relation to circulation pattern at 500 hPa level. Int J Climatol 19:253–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Xoplaki E (2002) Climate variability over the Mediterranean. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Bern, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
  44. Xoplaki E, Gonzalez-Rouco JF, Luterbacher J, Wanner H (2003) Mediterranean summer air temperature variability and its connection to the large-scale atmospheric circulation and SSTs. Clim Dyn 20:723–739Google Scholar
  45. Xoplaki E, Gonzalez-Rouco JF, Luterbacher J, Wanner H (2004) Wet season Mediterranean precipitation variability: influence of large-scale dynamics and predictability. Clim Dyn 23:63–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Toreti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Franco Desiato
    • 1
  • Guido Fioravanti
    • 1
  • Walter Perconti
    • 1
  1. 1.Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA)RomeItaly
  2. 2.Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR) and Institute of Geography, Climatology and MeteorologyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations