Latest update: 20 February 2019 New! Europe's climate change impacts in infographics. Check out below!

Europe's impacts in infographics:

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Floods in China will affect the United States far more than the European Union

In the next two decades, river flood risk will increase particularly in China. Losses in China affect other countries as well, through supply chains and trade. The EU is well adjusted for this.

Climate change »

When the soil dries out, Europe’s heat waves will become more extreme than previously thought

Evaporation cools the earth surface and hence soil moisture is a constraint on heat wave temperatures. Depletion of soil moisture may strongly amplify future heat waves, like the one of 2010.

Droughts and desertification »

Will drought events become more frequent and severe in Europe?

Current drought trends will grow stronger this century. Drought hotspots in future decades are the Mediterranean, northern and northeastern Scandinavia, southern England, and western Europe.

River floods »

From 1.5°C to 2°C global warming nearly doubles the impact of river floods on human lives and economy

Most future projections of river flooding focus on vulnerability or exposure, and in direct economic damage. A recent study also presents estimates on numbers of casualties and welfare loss.

Health »

Reduced heat exposure and mortality by limiting global warming to 1.5 °C

The number of people in Europe exposed to temperatures above the historical record in any summer would increase to 11% of the population in a 1.5 °C warmer world and to 20% in a 2 °C warmer world.

Coastal erosion and coastal floods »

Extreme sea levels, not socioeconomic changes, are the main driver of Europe’s future coastal flood risk

If we do not upgrade our flood protection standards, Europe’s coastal flood risk may increase up to 75 - 770 times the current risk. Mainly because extreme sea levels are changing.

Previously in ClimateChangePost

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Institution of Civil Engineers’ ninth Coastal Management conference will be held in La Rochelle (France) on 24 - 26 September 2019

The likelihood of any September to be completely ice-free by the end of this century at 2 °C global warming is 35%, a recent study shows. If warming is limited to 1.5 °C, this is only a few percent.

More needs to be done to protect the lagoon and the city in addition to the MOSE barrier, experts state. One option: raising the city by injecting fluid cement or water in the city’s subsoil.

Global-scale projections suggest that between 20% and 90% of the present-day coastal wetland area will be lost by 2100. Too dramatic, scientists argue in a recent publication in Nature.

Mean and maximum winter snow depths are decreasing over Europe except for the coldest regions. Over the period 1951-2017 this decrease was little over 10% per decade.

Due to transnational impacts, countries are far more vulnerable than direct impacts suggest. Exposure to climate change impacts in a globalised world turns out bad for The Netherlands.

Scientists are unable to distinguish agricultural impacts occurring with 1.5°C warming from those with 2°C warming. The uncertainties in the impacts of climate, CO2 and trade are simply too large.

Green roofs can be a good option to reduce stormwater runoff to the urban drainage networks. They may not be that effective for long-lasting, extreme rainfall events, however.

Despite a new fire policy, set up in France in 1994 to reduce the likelihood of very large wildfires, these events still occur. Massive fire suppression cannot control all extreme wildfire events.

Good news: until 2100, more carbon will be stored in peatlands globally. Bad news: this will not persist in time. After 2100, carbon loss from peatlands will strengthen climate change.

Technological improvements have increased crop yields. Climate change, however, has slowed down the increasing yield trends compared to the yields we would have had without global warming.

All over Europe, climate change will increase extreme weather impacts on the roads. This increase will accelerate towards the end of this century. As a result, maintenance needs to be adapted.

+1.5° to +2°C global warming, the Paris targets, will impact crop yields and food prices. The impact of a mitigation policy where croplands are being used for bioenergy crops may be stronger, however.

Food security and environmental goals can be achieved in tandem. A major increase of global food production is possible by expanding irrigation sustainably into currently cultivated areas.

If we succeed in limiting global warming to well below 2 °C, we may prevent large increases in heat-related mortality across the globe.

In the northern UK, drier summers may lead to more frequent flash flooding, affecting soil erosion, agriculture, and stream water quality. While mean precipitation decreases, extremes will increase.

If we succeed in stabilizing global warming at 1.5 °C or 2.0 °C, the frequency of the current 1-in-100 year flow shifts to once in 70-90 years or once in 50 years, respectively, in most of the world.

Proactive adaptation is an opportunity to effectively adapt our cultural heritage to climate change risks. One of the barriers, however, is how to deal with the uncertainties of things to come.

We can learn from the past to see what lies ahead. Vegetation changes since the last ice age show that vegetation composition and structure is at substantial risk of major changes in the near future.

An assessment shows that most World Heritage sites in low-lying coastal areas of the Mediterranean are at risk from coastal flooding or erosion, already today. Sea-level rise will make things worse.

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Europe in a changing climate

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