New! Europe's climate change impacts in infographics. The first set of presentations now online. Check out below! Latest update: 18 December 2018

Europe's impacts in infographics:

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Forest fires »

A new generation of wildfires characterized by extreme behavior

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.

Forestry and peatlands »

After 2100, decomposition of peatlands will strengthen climate change

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.

Agriculture and horticulture »

Without global warming, current crop yields would have been higher

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.

Transport, infrastructure and building »

What are the climate change impacts European Road Authorities have to adapt to?

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.

Agriculture and horticulture »

Expansion of biofuel crops may be more disruptive to food production than climate change itself

+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.

Agriculture and horticulture »

Sustainable water consumption for irrigation can feed an additional 2.8 billion people

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.

Previously in ClimateChangePost


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.

Global warming will change the tree species composition of European forests towards trees that store less carbon. This may turn these forests into a carbon source and thus reinforce global warming.

Crop yield losses to insect pests will increase globally with rising temperatures. Compared with the past, these losses increase by tens of percent for wheat, rice and maize crop at 2°C global warming

Burned area over Mediterranean Europe may increase by 40-54% under 1.5°C global warming. Higher levels of global warming increase drought conditions that in turn lead to larger burned areas.

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 may not affect annual discharge volumes that much. It may, however, significantly change a river’s discharge characteristics. This impacts droughts and floods.

Integrated strategies are needed to increase food production, focusing on both higher irrigation efficiency and higher crop yields of rain-fed cropland, whilst preserving valuable water resources.

Landslides are responsible for ca. 14% of all casualties from natural hazards, on a global scale. Human activities may be more detrimental to future landslide incidence than climate change.

Will more intense heat waves increase mortality in Europe? Not necessarily. Data on temperature-related mortality in Stockholm, Sweden, show a decline of heat-related mortality over the last 100 years

What will be the impact of global warming on coastal flood risk if we do succeed in restricting warming at 2°C, following the Paris Agreement? Still high, unless we keep on raising the dikes.

A country’s national security may be negatively affected by climate change. This impact was expressed quantitatively. It turns out that climate security is highest in Europe, with Finland as number 1.

Expected changes in wind energy potential show a north-south division in Europe. In the next 30 years, wind power output will increase by 4%-8% in the North, and decrease up to 6%-12% in the South.

The 10% most extreme summer maximum temperatures in a 2°C warmer world cannot be reached when global warming is restricted at 1.5°C. This corresponds to the most extreme and severe heat waves.

Europe’s summer season starts earlier, by 4 days per decade. As a result, mega heat waves may occur unusually early in the year when compared to the historical record. This was the case in 2017.

On Friday 27 July 2018, night temperature in the Netherlands did not drop below 23.6 °C. The hottest night ever measured. An update of climate change and hot cities.


Europe in a changing climate

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