Updated and extended European dataset of daily climate observations



The European Climate Assessment (ECA) dataset of daily observations, which has been widely used for studies on climate extremes, has been updated and extended. It now contains observational series of 2191 stations located in Europe and the Mediterranean (average inter-station distance: ∼75 km). About 1200 precipitation series and 750 temperature series cover the period 1960–2000. For a small number of stations (<15%) air pressure, cloud cover, sunshine duration, snow depth and relative humidity series have been collected. All series are quality controlled and the homogeneity of the precipitation and temperature series is assessed. About 50% of the daily series are publicly available for climate studies through the website http://eca.knmi.nl. The main potential of the ECA dataset follows from its daily resolution, enabling studies of impact relevant climate extremes and variability. To guide these studies, climate indices calculated from the ECA series are presented on the website too. Besides, gridded versions of the daily ECA data are available for easy comparison with climate model simulations. A trend analysis for the diurnal temperature range (DTR) demonstrates the utility of the dataset. Seasonal and annual DTR trends were calculated for 333 homogeneous temperature series in ECA and a Europe average trend was estimated. In spring and summer, the DTR increased from 1979 to 2005, whereas in autumn and winter the DTR generally decreased. The European average trend in annual DTR was 0.09 °C decade−1. Copyright © 2008 Royal Meteorological Society