What are the impacts of a global warming of 2˚C?

The FP7 IMPACT2C project brings climate and impact modellers, including the Rossby Centre, together with experts on climate change adaptation and vulnerability to investigate what the local and regional impacts of a two-degree global warming will be. One part of this work deals with future climate change and its associated uncertainties. In a new study, regional climate change in Europe has been investigated

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This study (Vautard et al., 2014) is based on 15 regional climate model scenarios from the EU FP6 project ENSEMBLES. The regional models were forced at their lateral boundaries by a number of global climate models, all under the SRES A1B emission scenario. The time period when a global warming of two degrees compared to preindustrial conditions was identified for each of the scenarios. This time period was then compared to the control climate at the end of the 20th Century to arrive at the climate change signal.

The results indicate that Europe generally experiences a stronger warming compared to the global average and it is concluded that Europe will experience more than 2˚C of warming even if the 2˚C global goal is achieved. The changes in temperature are found to be most pronounced in eastern and northern Europe in winter, and in southern Europe in summer. The results also indicate robust increase of precipitation in central and northern Europe in winter. In summer, only northern Europe experiences increases while it will rain less in central and southern Europe. Other changes include marked differences in temperature extremes, with more intense warm extremes and less intense cold extremes. Also precipitation extremes are expected to change implying more heavy precipitation in the future. All of these identified changes indicate that there may be more specific negative impacts of climate change at the regional scale. This is something that will be further investigated in IMPACT2C.

For further reading about the IMPACT2C project see the project web site and the first Policy brief issued in February 2014. The project IMPACT2C is coordinated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany.


Vautard, R., Gobiet, A., Sobolowski, S., Kjellström, E., Stegehuis, A., Watkiss, P., Mendlik. T., Landgren, O., Nikulin, G., Teichmann, C., Jacob, D., 2014. The European climate under a 2°C global warming. Environ. Res. Letters. Environ. Res. Lett. 9, 034006, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/9/3/034006