Investigation of extreme thermal conditions is important from the perspective of global warming. Therefore, this study has been undertaken in order to determine the frequency, timing and spatial extent of extremely cold months in winter time at 60 weather stations across Europe over a sixty-year period from 1951 to 2010. Extremely cold months (ECMs) are defined as months in which the average air temperature is lower than the corresponding multi-annual average by at least 2 standard deviations. Half of all the ECMs occurred in the years 1951–1970 (33 out of 67). The lowest number of ECMs was recorded in the decade 1991–2000, but since the beginning of the 21st century, their density and territorial extent has started to increase again. The extremely cold months with ECMs of the greatest spatial extent, covering at least one third of the stations (over 20 stations), included: February 1954 (22), February 1956 (36), January 1963 (25), and January 1987 (23 stations).
Bardin, M.Yu. (2007), Anticyclonic quasi-stationary circulation and its effect on air temperature anomalies and extremes over western Russia, Russ. Meteorol. Hydrol. 32, 2, 75–84, DOI: 10.3103/S106837390702001X.
Baur, F. (1954), Die Bestätigung bisheriger Ergebnisse der Groєtterforschung durch den Winter 1953/54, Archiv. Met. Geoph. Biokl. A 7, 1, 188–198, DOI: 10.1007/BF02277915 (in German).
Błazejczyk, K., and G. McGregor (2007), Bio-thermal conditions and mortality in selected European agglomerations, Prz. Geogr. 79, 3–4, 401–423 (in Polish).
Brönnimann, S. (2005), The global climate anomaly, 1940–1942, Weather 60, 12, 336–342, DOI: 10.1256/wea.248.04.
Buchan, J., J.J.-M. Hirschi, A.T. Blaker, and B. Sinha (2014) North Atlantic SST anomalies and the cold North European weather events of winter 2009/10 and December 2010, Mon. Wea. Rev. 142, 922–932, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/MWR-D-13-00104.1.
Cattiaux, J., R. Vautard, C. Cassou, P. Yiou, V. Masson-Delmotte, and F. Codron (2010), Winter 2010 in Europe: A cold extreme in a warming climate, Geophys. Res. Lett. 37, L20704, DOI: 10.1029/2010GL044613.
Cony, M., E. Hernández, and T. Del Teso (2008), Influence of synoptic scale in the generation of extremely cold days in Europe, Atmósfera 21, 4, 389–401.
Girguś, R., and W. Strupczewski (1965), A selection from historical sources of unusual hydrological and meteorological phenomena on Polish territories in the Xth to XVIth century, PIHM, Instrukcje i Podręczniki, No. 87, WKiŁ, Warszawa (in Polish).
Graham, R.J., C. Gordon, M.R. Huddleston, M. Davey, W. Norton, A. Colman, A.A. Scaife, A. Brookshaw, B. Ingleby, P. McLean, S. Cusack, E. McCallum, W. Elliot, K. Groves, D. Cotgrove, and D. Robinson (2006), The 2005/06 winter in Europe and the United Kingdom: Part 1 — How the MetOffice forecast was produced and communicated, Weather 61, 12, 327–336, DOI: 10.1256/wea.181.06.
Gumiński, R. (1931), Winter 1928/29 in Poland, Prz. Geogr. 11, 119–127.
Hansen, J., M. Sato, and R. Ruedy (2012), Perception of climate change, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 109, E2415–E2423, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1205276109.
Hirschi, J.J.-M. (2008), Unusual North Atlantic temperature dipole during the winter of 2006/2007, Weather 63, 1, 4–11, DOI: 10.1002/wea.120.
Hirschi, J.J.-M., and B. Sinha (2007), Negative NAO and cold Eurasian winters: how exceptional was the winter of 1962/1963? Weather 62, 2, 43–48, DOI: 10.1002/wea.34.
Isayev, A.A., and B.G. Sherstyukov (2008), Mean and extreme characteristics of Moscow climate at the end of the 20th century, Russ. Meteorol. Hydrol. 33, 3, 151–158, DOI: 10.3103/S1068373908030035.
Jaagus, J. (2006), Climatic changes in Estonia during the second half of the 20th century in relationship with changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation, Theor. Appl. Climatol. 83, 1–4, 77–88, DOI: 10.1007/s00704-005-0161-0.
Klein Tank, A.M.G., J.B. Wijngaard, G.P. Können, R. Böhm, G. Demarée, A. Gocheva, M. Mileta, S. Pashiardis, L. Hejkrlik, C. Kern-Hansen, R. Heino, P. Bessemoulin, G. Müller-Westermeier, M. Tzanakou, S. Szalai, T. Pálsdóttir, D. Fitzgerald, S. Rubin, M. Capaldo, M. Maugeri, A. Leitass, A. Bukantis, R. Aberfeld, A.F.V. van Engelen, E. Forland, M. Mietus, F. Coelho, C. Mares, V. Razuvaev, E. Nieplova, T. Cegnar, J. Antonio López, B. Dahlström, A. Moberg, W. Kirchhofer, A. Ceylan, O. Pachaliuk, L.V. Alexander, and P. Petrovic (2002), Daily dataset of 20th-century surfaceair temperature and precipitation series for the European Climate Assessment, Int. J. Climatol. 22, 12, 441–1453, DOI: 10.1002/joc.773.
Kossowska-Cezak, U. (1997), Monthly thermal and precipitation conditions and their dependence on atmospheric circulation, Prace Stud. Geograf. 20, 125–144 (in Polish).
Kossowska-Cezak, U., S. Pełech, and R. Twardosz (2016), Exceptionally cold winter months in Europe (1951–2010), Prz. Geofiz. 61, 1–2, 45–72 (in Polish).
Maignan, F., F.M. Bréon, E. Vermote, P. Ciais, and N. Viovy (2008), Mild winter and spring 2007 over western Europe led to a widespread early vegetation onset, Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, 2, L02404, DOI: 10.1029/2007GL032472, 2008.
Moberg, A., P.D. Jones, D. Lister, A. Walther, M. Brunet, J. Jacobeit, L.V. Alexander, P.M. Della-Marta, J. Luterbacher, P. Yiou, D. Chen, A.M.G. Klein Tank, O. Saladié, J. Sigró, E. Aguilar, H. Alexandersson, C. Almarza, I. Auer, M. Barriendos, M. Begert, H. Bergström, R. Böhm, C. J. Butler, J. Caesar, A. Drebs, D. Founda, F.-W. Gerstengarbe, G. Micela, M. Maugeri, H. Österle, K. Pandzic, M. Petrakis, L. Srnec, R. Tolasz, H. Tuomenvirta, P.C. Werner, H. Linderholm, A. Philipp, H. Wanner, and E. Xoplaki (2006), Indices for daily temperature and precipitation extremes in Europe analyzed for the period 1901–2000, J. Geophys. Res. 111, D22, D22106, DOI: 10.1029/2006JD007103.
Ouzeau, G., J. Cattiaux, H. Douville, A. Ribes, and D. Saint-Martin (2011), European cold winter 2009–2010: How unusual in the instrumental record and how reproducible in the ARPEGE-Climat model? Geophys. Res. Lett. 38, 11, L11706, DOI: 10.1029/2011GL047667.
Sidorenkov, N.S., and I.A. Orlov (2008), Atmospheric circulation epochs and climate changes, Russ. Meteorol Hydrol. 33, 9, 553–559, DOI: 10.3103/S1068373908090021.
Twardosz, R., and U. Kossowska-Cezak (2013a), Exceptionally hot summers in Central and Eastern Europe (1951–2010), Theor. Appl. Climatol. 112, 3–4, 617–628, DOI: 10.1007/s00704-012-0757-0.
Twardosz, R., and U. Kossowska-Cezak (2013b), Exceptionally hot summers months in Central and Eastern Europe during the years 1951–2010. In: I. Dincer, C. Ozgur Colpan, and F. Kaglioglu (eds.), Causes, Impacts and Solutions to Global Warming, Springer, New York, 17–35, DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-7588-0_2.
Twardosz, R., and U. Kossowska-Cezak (2015a), Extremely cold summers months in Central and Eastern Europe, 1951–2010, Nat. Haz. 75, 2, 2013–2026, DOI: 10.1007/s11069-014-1411-1.
Twardosz, R., and U. Kossowska-Cezak (2015b), Exceptionally hot and cold summers in Europe (1951–2010), Acta Geophys. 63, 1, 275–300, DOI: 10.2478/s11600-014-0261-2.
Twardosz, R., and U. Kossowska-Cezak (2016), Exceptionally cold and mild winters in Europe (1951–2010), Theor. Appl. Climatol. 125, 1–2, 399–411, DOI: 10.1007/s00704-015-1524-9.
Ugryumov, A.I., and N.V. Khar’kova (2008), Modern changes in St. Petersburg climate, Russ Meteorol Hydrol. 33, 1, 15–19.
Van den Besselaar, E.J.M., A.M.G. Klein Tank, and G. van der Schrier (2010), Influence of circulation types on temperature extremes in Europe, Theor. Appl. Climatol. 99, 3–4, 431–439, DOI: 10.1007/s00704-009-0153-6.
Wang, C., H. Liu, and S.K. Lee (2010), The record-breaking cold temperatures during the winter of 2009/2010 in the Northern Hemisphere, Atmos. Sci. Lett. 11, 3, 161–168, DOI: AG-D-16-00077.
Wijngaard, J.B., A.M.G. Klein Tank, and G.P. Können (2003), Homogeneity of 20th century European daily temperature and precipitation series, Int. J. Climatol. 23, 679–692, DOI: 10.1002/joc.906.
About this article
Cite this article
Twardosz, R., Kossowska-Cezak, U. & Pełech, S. Extremely Cold Winter Months in Europe (1951–2010). Acta Geophys. 64, 2609–2629 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1515/acgeo-2016-0083
- extremes temperature
- temperature anomaly
- winter seasons