The Flemish Ministry for Environment, the regional authority for the Northern part of Belgium, has released a report which shows dramatic temperature increases in the last 180 years. The report bases itself on the recently released Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The Ministry has taken key indicators and analyzed the situation in Belgium. The main conclusions are that:
- The annual average temperature in Belgium shows continuous increase since the early 19th Century. The average temperature is 2.3 degrees Celsius higher than that in 1830.
- The warmest years in the period analyzed are situated between 1989 and 2000. (see graph below)
- The major increases in temperature have occurred during the Spring and Summer seasons.
- Rainfall has increased an average of 5 mm per decade, with more precipitation observed in Winter and less in Summer.
- Average sea-level has risen on the Belgian coast by 103mm-133mm compared to 1970.
Since climate change is the long-term effect of human activity on the Earth’s climate, this study shows proof that there have been significant changes in Belgium. In simple terms, the facts that the average temperature has risen, that there is more rainfall in the Winter and less in Summer, and that the warmest years have been more recently recorded all show a tendency for a change in the Belgian climate.
The image below shows a graphical representation of the rise in average temperature in each season in Belgium since 1830.