Reassessment and update of long-term trends in downward surface shortwave radiation over Europe (1939-2012)

This paper presents trends in downward surface shortwave radiation (SSR) over Europe, which are based on the 56 longest series available from the Global Energy Balance Archive that are mainly concentrated in central Europe. Special emphasis has been placed on both ensuring the temporal homogeneity and including the most recent years in the data set. We have generated, for the first time, composite time series for Europe covering the period 1939<br>2012, which have been studied by means of running trend analysis. The mean annual SSR series shows an increase from the late 1930s to the early 1950s (i.e., early brightening), followed by a reduction until mid-1980s (i.e., global dimming) and a subsequent increase up to the early 2000s (i.e., global brightening). The series ends with a tendency of stabilization since the early 21st century, but the short time period is insufficient with regard to establishing whether a change in the trend is actually emerging over Europe. Seasonal and regional variations are also presented, which highlight that similar variations are obtained for most of the seasons and regions across Europe. In fact, due to the strong spatial correlation in the SSR series, few series are enough to capture almost the same interannual and decadal variability as using a dense network of stations. Decadal variations of the SSR are expected to have an impact on the modulation of the temperatures and other processes over Europe linked with changes in the hydrological cycle, agriculture production, or natural ecosystems. For a better dissemination of the time series developed in this study, the data set is freely available for scientific purposes ​
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