Changes in the distribution of seasonal surface temperature are investigated in central Europe using observations between 1961 and 2004 and a set of IPCC SRES A2 and B2 climate change simulations. A piecewise detrending methodology is used to distinguish between intrinsic and trend-induced variability changes. Mean and interannual variability changes are standardized with the intrinsic variability of the respective dataset. Within this framework, the strongest temperature changes in mean since 1990 are found for the summer season, both in observations and climate models. Estimates for variability changes show a weak increase (decrease) in summer (winter), but these changes are not statistically significant at the 90% level. For the 21st century all climate scenario runs suggest large relative increases in mean for all seasons with maximum amplitude in summer. Although changes in relative variability vary substantially between the models, there is a tendency for increasing (decreasing) variability in future summers (winters).