According to different observational records of global average annual near-surface (land and ocean) temperature, the last decade (2009–2018) was 0.91 °C to 0.96 °C warmer than the pre-industrial average, which makes it the warmest decade on record. Of the 18 warmest years on record, 17 have occurred since 2000. The year 2018 was the world’s fourth warmest year on record after the years 2016, 2015 and 2017.

The average annual temperature for the European land area for the last decade (2009–2018) was between 1.6 °C and 1.7 °C above the pre-industrial level, which makes it the warmest decade on record. In Europe, 2018 was among three warmest years on record.

All UNFCCC member countries have agreed on the long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C compared with pre-industrial levels and have agreed to aim to limit the increase to 1.5 °C. For the three highest of the four RCPs, the global average temperature increase is projected to exceed 2 °C compared with pre-industrial levels by 2050.

Annual average land temperature over Europe is projected to increase by the end of this century (2071–2100 relative to 1971–2000) in the range of 1.0 °C to 4.5 °C under RCP4.5, and 2.5 °C to 5.5 °C under RCP8.5, which is more than the projected global average increase. The strongest warming is projected across north-eastern Europe and Scandinavia in winter and southern Europe in summer.

The number of warm days (those exceeding the 90th percentile threshold of a baseline period) have doubled between 1960 and 2018 across the European land area.

Europe has experienced several extreme heat waves since 2000 (2003, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018). Under a high emissions scenario (RCP8.5), extreme heat waves as strong as these or even stronger are projected to occur as often as every two years in the second half of the 21st century. In southern Europe, they are projected to be particularly strong.