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Previously in ClimateChangePost


In contrast to global climate model projections the intensity of summer rainfall may increase. This is important for fresh water supply and, for instance, with respect to flash floods.

As a result of the extreme hot summer of 2003, 44,000 people died in Western Europe. How rare was this extreme event, and what is the effect of climate change?

There is increasing evidence that warming trends have advanced wine grape harvest dates in recent decades. Across the globe, harvest dates advance approximately 6 days per degree of warming.

For the Alps, the main trigger of debris flows is high intensity, short duration rainfall. Under future climate change, it is likely that increases in extreme rainfall will alter debris flow frequency

Air pollution is a serious health concern in many parts of the world. Projections of air quality changes over Europe under climate change are highly uncertain, however.

Global warming affects precipitation volumes in the Alps, the contribution of rain and snow to these volumes, and the timing of snowmelt. An overall decrease in snow cover

Climate change is considered a large threat to especially montane species. These species often inhabit narrow elevational ranges

The vulnerability of the Pyrenean ski resorts to projected changes in the snowpack under various future climate scenarios has been analyzed. A shorter ski-season length

In a warmer future climate, Western Europe will see larger impacts from severe Autumn storms. Not only their frequency will increase, but also their intensity and the area they affect.

How much sea level rise is to be expected at the upper limit of current IPCC scenarios? This question has been dealt with for northern Europe

There is growing evidence that the rate of warming is amplified with elevation, such that high-mountain environments experience more rapid changes in temperature

Discharges in the Rhone basin are likely to decrease significantly by the end of the century. Besides, seasonality of run-off will change substantially as well

According to a recent study, the chance of extremely hot summers would have increased dramatically since the 2003 European heat wave.

European wine farms show considerable potential to improve their economic performance, and thereby ease their situation in a global change scenario.

For the period 1960−1989 on average one heat wave in 10 years was calculated, for 2020−2049 1 heat wave every 2 years was projected, rising to at least

The Mediterranean Sea is warming in both shallow and deep waters. This warming is part of global climate trends and not a regional phenomenon.

Projected mean monthly river flow reductions in the Somme basin are around 20 % in 2050 and 30 % in 2080, while in the Seine basin, the decrease is larger in summer

An assessment was made of the impacts of climate change on the potential distribution of six alpine grasslands, two subalpine (and alpine) scrublands and four subalpine forests

The hydrology of the peat layer and extent of this peat area are impacted by drainage for agriculture, groundwater abstractions in underlying aquifers and climate change.

In the Alps, the overall frequency of debris flows may decrease in absolute terms, but the magnitude of events may increase.

Strong reduction of snow cover in the Alps is expected to have major impacts on winter tourism. Many ski-regions have mean elevations below 2,000 m

Drainage and forage quality are projected to decline, whereas annual forage provisioning is positively affected, with opportunities of high spring and late fall forage production.

The impact of climate change in recent decades on winter wheat yields has been studied for two wheat producing regions that are critical for the global market.

So far, forest fires do not constitute a significant hazard in the central and northern parts of the Alps, while on the southern side they are more common

Severe hurricane-force (> 32.6 m/s) storms can cause floods in west-European coastal regions and inflict large-scale damage on infrastructure and agriculture.

The main concern of wine producers is excessive summer water stress, leading to decreasing yields. It was estimated that yields in Languedoc-Roussillon could decrease by 26% by 2080.

Temporal trends in precipitation, temperature and solar radiation southern France have resulted in drier and warmer conditions over the region but with a high spatial heterogeneity ...

Model calculations project an increase of 2-meter air temperature for Paris between 1971–2006 and 2072–2098 of +2.0/2.4°C in winter and +3.5/5.0°C in summer ...

A future reduction in ski season length and a drop in the number of skiers have been projected for Andorra, especially at the lowest elevation ski resorts ...

Substantial reductions in potential groundwater recharge are projected for the 21st century in southern Europe and increases in northern Europe ...

Observed changes in berry composition were significantly influenced by the increases in temperature from 1960 to 2010 ...

The extremes of possible climate-change-driven habitat range size reductions are commonly based on two assumptions ...


I recommend

National plans/strategies for France

  • The Sixth National Communication of France to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (2014). Download.
  • Stratégie nationale d’adaptation au changement climatique (National adaptation strategy to climate change). Download.

Reports/papers that focus on important French topics

  • Avalanches and Landslides: Gruber et al. (2004). Permafrost thaw and destabilization of Alpine rock walls in the hot summer of 2003. Download.
  • Climate Change: observations, projections and impacts. Downloads.
  • Health: Pascal et al. (2006). France’s heat health watch warning system. Download.
  • Tourism: Agrawala (2007). Climate Change in the European Alps. Adapting winter tourism and natural hazards management.

Reports/papers that present a sound overview for Europe

  • Eisenreich (2005). Climate change and the European water dimension. A report to the European water directors.
  • European Environment Agency (2005). Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in Europe. Download.
  • European Environment Agency, JRC and WHO (2008). Impact of Europe’s changing climate – 2008 indicator-based assessment. Download.

Reports/papers that focus on specific topics, relevant for all of Europe

  • Agriculture: Rounsevell et al. (2005). Future scenarios of European agricultural land use II. Projecting changes in cropland and grassland. Download.
  • Agriculture: Fischer et al. (2005). Socio-economic and climate change impacts on agriculture: an integrated assessment, 1990–2080. Download.
  • Biodiversity: Thuiller et al. (2005). Climate change threats to plant diversity in Europe. Download.
  • Coastal erosion: Salman et al. (2004). Living with coastal erosion in Europe: sediment and space for sustainability. Download.
  • Droughts: Blenkinsop and Fowler (2007). Changes in European drought characteristics projected by the PRUDENCE regional climate models. Download.
  • Droughts: European Environment Agency (2009). Water resources across Europe – confronting water scarcity and drought. Download.
  • Forestry: Seppälä et al. (2009). Adaptation of forests and people to climate change. A global assessment report. Download.
  • Health: Kosatsky (2005). The 2003 European heat waves. Download.
  • Health: WHO (2008). Protecting health in Europe from climate change. Download.
  • Insurance and Business: Mills et al. (2005). Availability and affordability of insurance under climate change. A growing challenge for the U.S. Download.
  • Security and Crisis management: German Advisory Council on Global Change (2007). World in transition: Climate change as a security risk. Summary for policy-makers. Download.
  • Storms: Gardiner et al. (2010). Destructive storms in European forests: Past and forthcoming impacts. Download.
  • Storms: Pinto et al. (2007). Changing European storm loss potentials under modified climate conditions according to ensemble simulations of the ECHAM5/MPI-OM1 GCM. Download.
  • Tourism: Deutsche Bank Research (2008). Climate change and tourism: Where will the journey lead? Download.

EU funded Research Projects



Avalanches and landslides


Climate change scenarios

Climate change impacts and vulnerabilities

Coastal areas

Cultural-historical heritage

Droughts and water scarcity

Flash Floods


Forest fires


Fresh water resources



Insurance and Business

Land use

Mitigation / adaptation integrated policy

Mitigation / adaptation options and costs

Security and Crisis management


Transport, Infrastructure and Building

Urban areas

Storms France

There is a lot of cross-border information on storms in Northern, Western and Central Europe. This information is summarized on the page for Germany in the window 'Storms: European scale'. Additional information that specifically refers to individual countries is presented on the Storm pages of these countries.

Vulnerabilities – Trends of storm frequency and intensity in the past

The storms of the 1990s

During December 1999, three severe storms hit Europe, causing insured losses above 10 billion EUR (1). The total economic losses were roughly twice as much. The insured loss attributed to only one of those storms (Lothar, 26 December 1999) amounted to 5.9 billion EUR (11.3 billion EUR for economic loss), primarily in France (1).

These storms affected 79 of France’s 95 departments, and resulted in 92 casualties (150 in whole Europe), 7 billion EUR damage paid by assurance in France and 3.45 million households left without electricity (2).

Winter storm Xynthia, February 2010

The violent extratropical storm Xynthia hit coastal Western Europe on the 27–28 February (3). Bringing hurricane force winds and heavy rain in what was the worst storm in the region since 1999. Gusts of 120–140 km/h were common on low ground in France, and at Pic du Midi in the French Pyrenees a wind gust of 238 km/h was recorded (4). More than 60 people were killed across Western Europe. The majority of deaths were in France where storm surges reached 1.5 m at La Rochelle and caused sea walls to break in L’Agillon-sur-Mer, Vendee (3,4). The widespread wind and storm surge damage resulted in insured losses in France and Germany exceeding US$ 4 billion (4).

Vulnerabilities – Future storm frequency and intensity

More hurricanes

Model simulations (based on a climate change scenario showing 1°C less global warming than the SRES A1B scenario) suggest that tropical hurricanes might become a serious threat for Western Europe in the future (6). An increase in severe storms of predominantly tropical origin reaching Western Europe is anticipated as part of 21st global warming. An eastward extension of the development region of tropical storms is projected. In the current climate, the main genesis region for hurricanes is confined to the western tropical Atlantic, where sea surface temperatures are above the threshold (27°C) required for tropical cyclones to develop. Future tropical storms that reach western European coasts (and cause hurricane-force storms) predominantly originate from the eastern part of the tropical Atlantic. This is because climate warming in the eastern tropical Atlantic causes sea surface temperatures to rise well above the 27°C threshold.In addition to an increase in the frequency of severe winds (Beaufort 11–12), a shift is projected of the season of highest occurrence from winter to autumn (6).

After their formation, tropical cyclones move in a north-westerly direction. When they reach the mid-latitudes they are caught by the predominant westerly winds, thereby veering their track in a north-easterly direction, with the possibility of reaching Western Europe. Geometrically, this likelihood increases if their genesis region in the tropical Atlantic is further to the east. In addition, the shorter travel distance in the mid-latitudes will enable the “tropical” characteristics of hurricanes to be better preserved along their journey to Western Europe. Hence, the likelihood of these storms maintaining their strength when reaching Western Europe will increase, because there is simply less time for them to dissipate (7).

Adaptation strategies France


In France insurance coverance (in % of forest area) is 7% (5).


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for France.

  1. Munich Re (2001), in: Pinto et al. (2007)
  2. Ministère de l’Ecologie, de l’Energie, du Développement durable et de la Mer (2009)
  3. Maier et al. (2011), in: UK Met Office (2011)
  4. WMO (2011), in: UK Met Office (2011)
  5. Gardiner et al. (2010)
  6. Haarsma et al. (2013)
  7. Hart and Evans (2001), in: Haarsma et al. (2013)