Europe faces droughts, floods and storms as climate change accelerates - 25th January
Europe’s Atlantic-facing countries will suffer heavier rainfalls, greater flood risk, more severe storm damage and an increase in “multiple climatic hazards”, according to the most comprehensive study of Europe’s vulnerability to climate change yet.
Temperatures in mountain ranges such as the Alps and the Pyrenees are predicted to soar to glacier-melting levels, while the Mediterranean faces a “drastic” increase in heat extremes, droughts, crop failure and forest fires.
Europe and the entire northern hemisphere are warming at a quicker pace than elsewhere, to the extent that tropical diseases such as West Nile fever are expected to spread across northern France by mid-century.
One of the lead authors of the European Environment Agency (EEA) report, Hans-Martin Füssel, said that scientific evidence was pointing increasingly to a speeding up in the pace of climate change.
“We have more data confirming that sea-level rise is accelerating,” he said. “It is not a linear trend, largely due to increased disintegration of ice sheets. There is also new evidence that heavy precipitation has increased in Europe. That is what is causing the floods. The [climate] projections are coming true.”
Earlier this month, Nasa, Noaa and the Met Office confirmed that 2016 had broken the record for the hottest year ever previously held by 2015, which had itself broken the record that had been held by 2014.
The new EEA report finds that land temperatures in Europe in the last decade were 1.5C warmer than the pre-industrial age, although near-surface temperatures – measured at a metre above ground level – were only 0.83C-0.89C warmer.
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