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Forest fires »

Wildfire smoke particles can be deadly, and climate change will increase health risk

Fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometre is a serious health threat because it can enter the lungs. Particles from wildfire smoke are more lethal than other - urban – particles.

Viniculture »

Wine quality and global warming: When will winners become losers?

So far, substantial warming in two of the world’s top red wine regions has increased average wine quality, but a tipping point in the effect of climate change on wine quality may be nearby.

Transport, infrastructure and building »

Loss of sea ice in the Arctic: Sad testimony of climate change, good news for the economy

Ship navigation routes are opening across the Arctic. Summer sea ice extent has been declining for half a century. Opportunities for the economy, maybe not so much for local communities.

Flash floods and urban flooding »

Intense rainstorms are moving more slowly, causing more floods

Slowly moving rainstorms causing flash floods like those in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands in the summer of 2021, may become up to 14 times more frequent in Europe by 2100.

Droughts and desertification »

Adaptation may strongly limit Europe’s economic drought impacts with global warming

Annual damage of droughts in Europe is now €9 billion per year. Without adaptation, a 3,5 times increase at 2°C global warming is projected in 2100. With adaptation, the impact is much less.

Coastal erosion and coastal floods »

Sandy coastlines worldwide under threat of erosion

Almost half of the world’s sandy beaches could be gone by the end of the century. A substantial proportion of the threatened sandy shorelines are in densely populated areas.

Previously in ClimateChangePost

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The future of the tidal flats of the Wadden Sea, a valuable nature reserve in the Northwest of Europe, depends on the rate of sea-level rise. This rate may increase so fast that the flats will drown.

Climate change impact on extreme precipitation in Europe calls into question the resilience of the existing infrastructure under more frequent and intense rainstorms in the future.

Land subsidence is a major contributor to flood risk, threatening 15 of the 20 major coastal cities ranked with the highest flood risk worldwide.

Scientists conclude that climate change has increased the likelihood and intensity of flash flooding in Western Europe and will continue to do so in a warming climate.

The number of days with adverse fire weather conditions has increased over the last 30 years over the Iberian Peninsula and eastern Balkans. A decrease was observed for Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey.

Catastrophic flood events may seem highly unlikely but are less unique when you look beyond national borders. In a European perspective, extreme flood events do happen every now and then.

Global delta land area will decrease if relative sea-level rise exceeds about 5.5 mm per year. 5% of total global delta area may be gone in 2100 under a high-end scenario of climate change.

The frequency of extreme weather events in Europe has increased over time. As a result, drought and heatwave crop production losses increased from 2.2% in 1964-1990 to 7.3% in 1991-2015.

In a changing climate, concepts like the ‘100-year flood event’ are misleading. Return periods of floods are changing. Whether they increase or decrease, depends on climate zones.

Afghanistan faces the lowest level of rainfall in years. Since 2018, drought has displaced a quarter of a million people, and the numbers are rising.

Small- to medium-sized rockfalls now occur up to 300 m higher in the Alps than 70 years ago. The number of rockfalls has increased since the 2000s, data since 1945 show.

Greening 35% of European urban surfaces would cool these surfaces by between 2.5°C and 6°C, reduce urban runoff by about 17.5%, and save up to 55.8 Mtons carbon dioxide emissions per year.

The increase in the number of people in Europe dying from high temperatures will start to exceed the reduction of the number of people dying from cold spells in the second half of this century.

Globally, in the last two decades, the decrease of the annual number of cold-related deaths exceeded the increased of heat-related deaths, leading to a net reduction in the overall death ratio.

It is likely that climate change has already increased the health risks of heat stress, air quality and a number of diseases, globally, a recent literature survey and expert judgment has shown.

Heatwaves affect far more sectors than just public health. In the United Kingdom, these risks are ‘invisible’ to policy and research, scientists conclude.

In the Czech Republic, the onset of the bark beetle outbreak triggered by drought led to a sharp increase of salvage logging since 2016, and to one billion Euro of damage in agriculture in 2018.

The current expected annual direct damage from large river floods to road infrastructure in Europe is about € 230 million per year. Risk hotspots are parts of Germany, France, Italy, and Scandinavia.

Global forest area is likely to increase this century, but shrink back towards its present level by 2200. Forest productivity and timber supply will continue to increase through 2200, however.

An update of the ‘River Basin Delta Tool’ is now online. The tool, first launched on the Climate Adaptation Summit 2021, shows effects of interventions on rivers and deltas and how to bend the trend.

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Europe in a changing climate

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