Climate change continues strongly in the Netherlands
1 augustus 2008 -
The temperature in the Netherlands has risen much faster than the global mean. The Central Netherlands Temperature is now about 1.5 degrees higher than around 1950. This increase is twice as much as the rise in the global mean temperature over the same period.
The temperature in 2006 and 2007 was comparable to the temperature in France
Research conducted at KNMI shows that the difference is very unlikely due to natural variability. The area of fast temperature increases extends over large parts of Europe.
This is one of the conclusions of "The State of the Climate in the Netherlands", the latest KNMI climate report in a series appearing every five years.
The last five years almost all seasons were warmer than normal in the Netehrlands. Some were the warmest in at least three centuries – since the beginning of regular observations in 1706. In spring and summer, the main factor influencing the fast temperature rise in the Netherlands were more sunshine and warmer southerly winds. In the winter, the wind direction was predominantly south-westerly, bringing mild air into Europe. There were very few episodes of cold easterlies.
The warmer climate also leads to more precipitation. The annual amount of precipitation in the Netherlands has increased by 18% over the last century. The last few years have seen a remarkably large number of days with heavy precipitation. The increase in precipitation in summer has been largest near the coasts. The cause of this increase is the warmer North Sea, which intensifies rain showers near the coast. On the other hand, the last few years have also seen long droughts, which led to problems in agriculture, water management and energy production.
The rising temperatures have led to unusual phenomena in the Netherlands, such as sidewalk cafés open in February, beach days in April and heating systems off in winter. However, persistent heat in summer is a health risk for specific groups, such as elderly, chronically ill and obese people. A warmer climate also gives rise to more frequent weather conditions that cause summer smog. Climate change therefore forms an important factor in future air quality.