Climate Change in Poland – too much too soon


Today’s global warming proves much faster than even 20 years ago.

A global rise in average temperatures has been well documented since at least the late 1800s. But while the subject of global warming is all too often contested, or worse still, obscured in statistics, it is not the very occurrence of climate change that scientists flag up but, increasingly so, the extreme pace of global warming.
Recent findings of Polish researchers from University of Gdansk (Poland) add to the general consensus: a paper published in the Bulletin of Geography alerts to a steady and statistically significant change in all analyzed indicators of air temperatures in Poland in the second half of the 20th century and throughout the first fifteen years of the new millennium. Human induced global warming is changing the region at a much faster speed than natural processes ever have before.
The study, led by Dr. Małgorzata Owczarek and Janusz Filipiak used several selected air temperature indices to pin down the main regularities in annual and seasonal spatial diversity of thermal conditions in Poland. The authors calculated the climate on the basis of the daily mean, maximum and minimum temperatures series recorded at 18 weather stations in Poland, between 1951 and 2015. As a result, they were able to estimate the relation between extreme temperatures and their corresponding extreme per-centiles. They could thus establish the yearly number of days meeting the determined criteria, dubbed as “thermally specific days” and so ultimately count the number and duration of spells of particularly high, or particularly low air temperatures. The authors also put this comparison in context, placing it within a longer sweep of time and among different locations. Complementing the research are the assessments, which illustrate poignantly the predicted vs. the actual thermal comparison, in the form of graphs, rather than otherwise abstruse statistics.
The tendencies observed in Poland reflect the European and global trends. Even though the changes don’t account for any local differentiation, it is possible to distinguish several areas where the speed of warming is fastest, e.g. the coast. The findings are all the more striking as the changes prove considerably stronger than those detected during the period of 1951– 2010 with the alarming tendencies consistently on the rise. And although the research period here appears to be only about five years longer than in the previous studies, the results seem to be indicating that the consequences of climatic change will occur more often in the future, and on a larger scale than previously anticipated.
The study confirms the thermal pattern for the whole European region. As indicated in many researches, global climate change is evident and indisputable and will impact all human beings beyond political borders and social or economic divisions. “The international community needs to step in in order to mitigate the negative effects of global warming. People seldom link daily aspects of living such as health problems, air pollution, transport disturbances or food prices with climate change” says Małgorzata Owczarek, the co-author of the paper. “Our research provides reliable and updated information on changes in thermal conditions, which is one of the key elements of the climate. What is important, the results confirm ongoing trends in air temperature indices in Poland. They can be used in practical studies such as assessment of environmental impact in the preparation of investment projects. “ comments Janusz Filipiak.
Janusz Filipiak was supported by Polish National Science Centre grant no. 2012/07/B/ST10/04214
The original article is available to read, download and share on De Gruyter Online.