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The Past Two-Plus Centuries of Climate Change in Northern and Central Europe
Jones, P.D., Briffa, K.R., Osborn, T.J., Moberg, A. and Bergstrom, H.  2002.  Relationships between circulation strength and the variability of growing-season and cold-season climate in northern and central Europe.  The Holocene 12: 643-656.

What was done
The authors examine the story told by several recently-produced 200- to 250-year European daily and monthly climatic series.

What was learned
Jones et al. report that "for northern Europe (Fennoscandia), growing seasons were clearly warmer before about 1860, with only the late 1930s of recent times reaching the earlier levels."  To this they add that "relative warmth in central Europe and to a lesser extent in Central England is also seen pre-1860, although a number of recent decades are as warm."  Last of all, they note that "when annual average temperatures are considered, all three series show slight long-term warming."  However, they note that "all of the annual warming is being experienced in the cold season," adding that there is a "lack of long-term warming in the 'summer' series."

What it means
The story told by these data is certainly not one of rapidly-developing thermal catastrophe, as so many climate-alarmist politicians (ironically located in Europe) would have one believe.  Northern Europe was not even as warm at the end of the past century as it was in the late 1930s, which were about as warm as it was prior to 1860.  Central Europe and Central England, on the other hand, were slightly warmer, but only in the winter, and it is a well-established fact that the cold of winter kills far more people in Europe (and almost everywhere else) than does the heat of summer (see, for example, Health Effects (Temperature) in our Subject Index).  Clearly, something other than real-world data is driving the climate paranoia that is so prevalent in EU governmental circles.

Reviewed 29 September 2004