Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Humans, volcanoes and the Sun have influenced Europe's climate over recent centuries

Date:
January 19, 2011
Source:
Plataforma SINC
Summary:
Scientists have discovered that seasonal temperatures in Europe, above all in winter, have been affected over the past 500 years by natural factors such as volcanic eruptions and solar activity, and by human activities such as the emission of greenhouse gases. The study could help us to better understand the dynamics of climate change.

Eruption of the vulcano Eyjafjallajökull in South Iceland. An International research team has discovered that seasonal temperatures in Europe, above all in winter, have been affected over the past 500 years by natural factors such as volcanic eruptions and solar activity, and by human activities such as the emission of greenhouse gases.
Credit: iStockphoto/Jochen Scheffl

An International research team has discovered that seasonal temperatures in Europe, above all in winter, have been affected over the past 500 years by natural factors such as volcanic eruptions and solar activity, and by human activities such as the emission of greenhouse gases. The study could help us to better understand the dynamics of climate change.

Up until now, it was thought that Europe's climate prior to 1900 was barely affected by external factors, but now a group of scientists has shown that natural phenomena such as volcanic eruptions or solar radiation, as well as human emissions of aerosols and greenhouse gases, have had an impact on the evolution of Europe's climate over the past five centuries.

"The influence of the increase in levels of greenhouse gases, in particular, can be clearly seen since the end of the 17th Century," Jesús Fidel González Rouco, a physicist at the Complutense University of Madrid and co-author of the study, which has recently been published online in the journal Nature Geoscience, said.

The researchers studied how natural and human factors affected temperatures across Europe throughout the seasons in the years from 1500 to 2000. The results show that winter is the season in which changes in levels of greenhouse gases and aerosols from human-made sources can be seen to have the clearest influence.

As reliable temperature records do not go back any further than 150 years, the team carried out simulations using three climate models and reconstructed past climate scenarios based on old instrumental observations, information recorded in historical documents and by studying tree rings.

Lessons for climate change

"For the first time we are able to attribute causes to how the climate has evolved over several centuries, working at continental and seasonal scale," says González Rouco. "And the relevance of this approach is based on the fact that the impact of any possible climate change can be greater for societies and ecosystems within the range of these spatial and time-based scales."

Scientists say that Europe's climate "has in the past been sensitive to variations in radiative forcing from natural and human sources (changes in the energy received from the Sun, in volcanic activity, or in levels of greenhouse gases), so it is to be expected that the intense current and future variations in these forcings will play a significant role in the future evolution of Europe's climate."

This study was led by the University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom) with the participation of the Complutense University, the Justus-Liebig University (Giessen, Germany) and the University of Berne (Switzerland).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Plataforma SINC. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gabriele Hegerl, Juerg Luterbacher, Fidel González-Rouco, Simon F. B. Tett, Thomas Crowley, Elena Xoplaki. Influence of human and natural forcing on European seasonal temperatures. Nature Geoscience, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1057

Cite This Page:

Plataforma SINC. "Humans, volcanoes and the Sun have influenced Europe's climate over recent centuries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110119084749.htm>.
Plataforma SINC. (2011, January 19). Humans, volcanoes and the Sun have influenced Europe's climate over recent centuries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110119084749.htm
Plataforma SINC. "Humans, volcanoes and the Sun have influenced Europe's climate over recent centuries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110119084749.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) — Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 15, 2014) — Pennsylvania-based Schramm is incorporating modern technology in its next generation oil-drigging rigs, making them smaller, safer and smarter. Ernest Scheyder reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) — To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins