Editor's Summary

14 September 2006

Turning up the heat


Many parts of Europe have experienced a series of highly unusual summers with extremely dry/hot (2003) and wet/cool (2002, 2005) years. Climate models predict that summers of this kind will become more frequent in the future, but the underlying mechanisms responsible for this change remain uncertain. Using a regional climate model, Seneviratne et al. show that feedbacks between temperature and soil moisture (as opposed to changes in atmospheric circulation) are the primary cause of the increase in the variability of summer temperatures predicted in central and eastern Europe. This highlights the potential role of land–atmosphere interactions in future climate change.

LetterLand–atmosphere coupling and climate change in Europe

Sonia I. Seneviratne, Daniel Lüthi, Michael Litschi and Christoph Schär

doi:10.1038/nature05095