Changes in temperature and temperature gradients in the French Northern Alps during the last centuryReport as inadecuate

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1 CRGA - Centre de Recherche de Géographie et Aménagement Lyon 3 EVS - Environnement Ville Société

Abstract : Abstract In mountain environments, local factors such as topography or exposure to the sun influence the spatial distribution of temperatures. It is therefore difficult to characterise the global evolution of temperatures over several decades. Such local effects can either accentuate or attenuate thermal contrasts between neighbouring areas. The present study uses two regional thermal indicators-thermal gradients and temperatures reduced to sea level-to monitor the monthly evolution of minimum and maximum temperatures in the French Northern Alps. Measures were calculated for the period extending from 1960 to 2007 based on data from 92 measuring stations. Temperature gradients were computed and further used to monitor the altitudinal evolution of temperatures. A characteristic regional temperature was determined for the whole of the French Northern Alps based on temperatures reduced to sea level, and changes in temperatures since 1960 were assessed. Multiple linear regression models made it possible to extend measurements over a longer period and to make enhanced calculations of temperature changes in the mountains since 1885. This is the first study to examine temperature changes in the French Northern Alps over such an extended period. Gradient data suggest that over the last 50 years, temperatures have changed at all altitudes. In addition, the evaluation of the temperature rise over 100 years reveals that minimal and maximal monthly temperatures trends are only significant a few months of the year.

Keywords : Alps temperature gradients climat change last century

Author: Dominique Dumas -



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