Funding for this research is provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41171031), National Basic Research Program of China (2012CB955403 and 2010CB950100), and Strategic Priority Research Program (XDA05080101) and Hundred Talents Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for thoughtful comments and recommendations. The authors acknowledge the NASA Langley Research Center for providing access to the NASA GEWEX surface radiation budget (SRB) datasets, the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) of the University of Wisconsin—Madison for providing access to the PATMOS-x data, the British Atmospheric Data Center for access to the CRU data, and the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) for access to the GPCC data.
Andreae, M. O., and D. Rosenfeld, 2008: Aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions. Part 1. The nature and sources of cloud-active aerosols. Earth Sci. Rev., 89, 13–41.
Barriopedro, D., E. M. Fischer, J. Luterbacher, R. M. Trigo, and R. García-Herrera, 2011: The hot summer of 2010: Redrawing the temperature record map of Europe. Science, 332, 220–224.
Cess, R. D., and Coauthors, 1989: Interpretation of cloud-climate feedback as produced by 14 atmospheric general circulation models. Science, 245, 513–516.
Clement, A. C., R. Burgman, and J. R. Norris, 2009: Observational and model evidence for positive low-level cloud feedback. Science, 325, 460–464.
Dai, A., 2011: Characteristics and trends in various forms of the Palmer drought severity index (PDSI) during 1900-2008. J. Geophys. Res., 116, D12115, doi:10.1029/2010JD015541.
Dai, A., K. E. Trenberth, and T. R. Karl, 1999: Effects of clouds, soil moisture, precipitation, and water vapor on diurnal temperature range. J. Climate, 12, 2451–2473.
Dai, A., K. E. Trenberth, and T. T. Qian, 2004: A global dataset of Palmer drought severity index for 1870–2002: Relationship with soil moisture and effects of surface warming. J. Hydrometeor., 5, 1117–1130.
Della-Marta, P. M., J. Luterbacher, H. von Weissenfluh, E. Xoplaki, M. Brunet, and H. Wanner, 2007: Summer heat waves over Western Europe 1880-2003, their relationship to large-scale forcings and predictability. Climate Dyn., 29, 251–275.
D’Ippoliti, D., and Coauthors, 2010: The impact of heat waves on mortality in 9 European cities: Results from the EuroHEAT project. Environ. Health, 9, 37, doi:10.1186/1476-069X-9-37.
Evan, A. T., D. J. Vimont, A. K. Heidinger, J. P. Kossin, and R. Bennartz, 2009: The role of aerosols in the evolution of tropical North Atlantic Ocean temperature anomalies. Science, 324, 778–781.
Fischer, E. M., and C. Schär, 2009: Future changes in daily summer temperature variability: Driving processes and role for temperature extremes. Climate Dyn., 33, 917–935.
Fischer, E. M., and C. Schär, 2010: Consistent geographical patterns of changes in high-impact European heatwaves. Nat. Geosci., 3, 398–403.
Fischer, E. M., S. I. Seneviratne, P. L. Vidale, D. Lüthi, and C. Schär, 2007: Soil moisture–atmosphere interactions during the 2003 European summer heat wave. J. Climate, 20, 5081–5099.
Graf, H. F., J. Yang, and T. M. Wagner, 2009: Aerosol effects on clouds and precipitation during the 1997 smoke episode in Indonesia. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 743–756.
Groisman, P. Ya., R. S. Bradley, and B. Sun, 2000: The relationship of cloud cover to near-surface temperature and humidity: Comparison of GCM simulations with empirical data. J. Climate, 13, 1858–1878.
Heidinger, A. K., A. T. Evan, M. J. Foster, and A. Walther, 2012: A naive Bayesian cloud-detection scheme derived from CALIPSO and applied within PATMOS-x. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., in press.
Hirschi, M., and Coauthors, 2011: Observational evidence for soil-moisture impact on hot extremes in southeastern Europe. Nat. Geosci., 4, 17–21.
Jacobowitz, H., L. L. Stowe, G. Ohring, A. Heidinger, K. Knapp, and N. R. Nalli, 2003: The Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer Pathfinder Atmosphere (PATMOS) climate dataset: A resource for climate research. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, 785–793.
Jaeger, E. B., and S. I. Seneviratne, 2010: Impact of soil moisture-atmosphere coupling on European climate extremes and trends in a regional climate model. Climate Dyn., 36, 1919–1939.
Key, J. E., T. L’Ecuyer, A. Gettelman, G. Stephens, and C. O’Dell, 2008: The contribution of cloud and radiation anomalies to the 2007 Arctic sea ice extent minimum. Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L08503, doi:10.1029/2008GL033451.
Klein-Tank, A., G. Können, and F. Selten, 2005: Signals of anthropogenic influence on European warming as seen in the trend patterns of daily temperature variance. Int. J. Climatol., 25, 1–16.
Meehl, G. A., and C. Tebaldi, 2004: More intense, more frequent, and longer lasting heat waves in the 21st century. Science, 305, 994–997.
Mitchell, T. D., and P. D. Jones, 2005: An improved method of constructing a database of monthly climate observations and associated high-resolution grids. Int. J. Climatol., 25, 693–712.
Norris, J. R., and M. Wild, 2007: Trends in aerosol radiative effects over Europe inferred from observed cloud cover, solar “dimming,” and solar “brightening.” Geophys. Res. Lett., 112, D08214, doi:10.1029/2006JD007794.
Patz, J. A., D. Campbell-Lendrum, T. Holloway, and J. A. Foley, 2005: Impact of regional climate change on human health. Nature, 438, 310–317.
Ramanathan, V., R. D. Cess, E. F. Harrison, P. Minnis, B. R. Barkstrom, E. Ahmad, and D. Hartmann, 1989: Cloud-radiative forcing and climate: Results from the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment. Science, 243, 57–63.
Schär, C., D. Lüthi, U. Beyerle, and E. Heise, 1999: The soil–precipitation feedback: A process study with a regional climate model. J. Climate, 12, 722–741.
Schär, C., P. L. Vidale, D. Lüthi, C. Frei, C. Häberli, M. A. Liniger, and C. Appenzeller, 2004: The role of increasing temperature variability in European summer heatwaves. Nature, 427, 332–336.
Schneider, U., A. Becker, A. Meyer-Christoffer, M. Ziese, and B. Rudolf, 2010: Global precipitation analysis products of Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC). DWD Rep., 7 pp.
Seneviratne, S., D. Lüthi, M. Litschi, and M. Schär, 2006: Land-atmosphere coupling and climate change in Europe. Nature, 443, 205–209.
Sun, B., P. Ya. Groisman, R. S. Bradley, and F. T. Keimig, 2000: Temporal changes in the observed relationship between cloud cover and surface air temperature. J. Climate, 13, 4341–4357.
Sutton, R. T., and D. L. R. Hodson, 2005: Atlantic Ocean forcing of North American and European summer climate. Science, 309, 115–118.
Tang, Q., and G. Leng, 2012: Damped summer warming accompanied with cloud cover increase over Eurasia from 1982 to 2009. Environ. Res. Lett., 7, 014004 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/1/014004.
Timmreck, C., H.-F. Graf, S. J. Lorenz, U. Niemeier, D. Zanchettin, D. Matei, J. H. Jungclaus, and T. J. Crowley, 2010: Aerosol size confines climate response to volcanic super-eruptions. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L24705, doi:10.1029/2010GL045464.
Trenberth, K. E., and D. J. Shea, 2005: Relationships between precipitation and surface temperature. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L14703, doi:10.1029/2005GL022760.
Trigo, R. M., T. J. Osborn, and J. M. Corte-Real, 2002: The North Atlantic Oscillation influence on Europe: Climate impacts and associated physical mechanisms. Climate Res., 20, 9–17.
Vautard, R., and Coauthors, 2007: Summertime European heat and drought waves induced by wintertime Mediterranean rainfall deficit. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L07711, doi:10.1029/2006GL028001.
Wang, X., and J. R. Key, 2003: Recent trends in Arctic surface, cloud, and radiation properties from space. Science, 299, 1725–1728.
Wielicki, B. A., T. Wong, N. Loeb, P. Minnis, K. Priestley, and R. Kandel, 2005: Changes in Earth’s albedo measured by satellite. Science, 308, 825–825.
Wielicki, B. A., R. T. Pinker, and Y. Govaerts, 2009: Cloud variability over the Indian monsoon region as observed from satellites. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 48, 1803–1821.
Wild, M., A. Ohmura, H. Gilgen, and D. Rosenfeld, 2004: On the consistency of trends in radiation and temperature records and implications for the global hydrological cycle. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L11201, doi:10.1029/2003GL019188.
Wild, M., and Coauthors, 2005: From dimming to brightening: Decadal changes in solar radiation at Earth’s surface. Science, 308, 847–850.
Zampieri, M., F. D’Andrea, R. Vautard, P. Ciais, N. de Noblet-Ducoudré, and P. Yiou, 2009: Hot European summers and the role of soil moisture in the propagation of Mediterranean drought. J. Climate, 22, 4747–4758.