Latest update: 22 May 2019 On our homepage, summarized in infographics: Europe's climate change impacts on agriculture, biodiversity, coastal floods, health, forest fires .... it's all there!

Europe's impacts in infographics:

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Coastal erosion and coastal floods »

Sea level rise in 2100 could exceed 2 m, experts conclude

The experts find it plausible that sea level rise could exceed 2 m by 2100 under the business as usual scenario, more than twice the upper value put forward by the IPCC in 2014.

River floods »

Areas in which nearby rivers flood at the same time are increasing in size

When rivers flood, nearby rivers often flood at the same time. The distance over which rivers flood simultaneously has increased since 1960. It far exceeds the size of individual drainage basins.

Biodiversity »

Marine heat waves threaten global biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services

The global ocean has warmed substantially over the past century. But that’s not all. Discrete periods of extreme regional warming, called ‘marine heat waves’, have increased in frequency.

Droughts and desertification »

Droughts in the soil increase much less than droughts at the earth surface

Meteorological droughts will occur more often and last longer. The increase of frequency and duration of droughts in the soil root zone will be much less, a global study shows.

Fishery »

Ocean warming already decreased global marine fisheries production

From 1930 to 2010, maximum sustainable fish yield has decreased by 4.1%. The greatest losses in productivity occurred in marine regions of East Asia and Europe. Higher ocean temperatures are to blame.

Coastal erosion and coastal floods »

Currently, melting glaciers contribute almost 30 per cent to observed sea level rise

Total ice volume of the world’s glaciers equals 0.4 metres of potential sea level rise. Glacier ice loss over the period 1961 to 2016 contributed about 27 millimetres to global mean sea level rise.

Previously in ClimateChangePost

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Global food insecurity doesn’t have to increase as a result of climate change. Crop yield losses can be small up to the 2050s, provided the right adaptation measures are implemented.

In 2050, very severe heat waves are most likely in Valletta (Malta), Madrid, Rome and Sofia. By then, the probability of an extreme heat wave to occur is relatively low only in Amsterdam.

In 1985, it was estimated that 70% of the world’s sandy shorelines were eroding. A new assessment, based on 33 years of satellite images, paints quite a different picture.

The latest high-resolution climate model projections confirm earlier projections for mainland Portugal: hot days will get much hotter, and heat waves more frequent and extreme.

Rewetting peat soils increases both the accumulation of CO2 and the emission of CH4, a much stronger but short-lived greenhouse gas. It takes time for CO2 storage to dominate over the CH4 effect.

Future Bluetongue outbreaks in England and Wales may be double the current size by the 2050s. Animal movement restrictions are sufficient to prevent truly devastating outbreaks, however.

Wildfires will occur more frequent and will become more severe as a result of global warming. How do we detect the impact of global warming, knowing that many other factors play a role as well?

By mid-century, little over 100 billion USD of buildings, structures and infrastructure in Russia’s permafrost regions will be negatively affected by permafrost changes, a recent assessment shows.

With global warming more precipitation in the mountains will fall as rain. Snow storage in the winter will decrease, reducing low river flow and fresh water availability in the summer.

Last year, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency published an assessment of the world’s water challenges. A web-based storyboard of this assessment is now available online.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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Europe in a changing climate

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