IPCC Climate Change Europe

IPCC Climate Change Europe:

 

For the first time, wide ranging impacts of changes in current climate have been documented: retreating glaciers, longer growing seasons, shift of species ranges, and health impacts due to a heat wave of unprecedented magnitude. The observed changes described above are consistent with those projected for future climate change.

Nearly all European regions are anticipated to be negatively affected by some future impacts of climate change and these will pose challenges to many economic sectors. Climate change is expected to magnify regional differences in Europe’s natural resources and assets. Negative impacts will include increased risk of inland flash floods, and more frequent coastal flooding and increased erosion (due to storminess and sea level rise).

The great majority of organisms and ecosystems will have difficulties adapting to climate change. Mountainous areas will face glacier retreat,reduced snow cover and winter tourism, and extensive species losses (in some areas up to 60% under high emission scenarios by 2080).

In Southern Europe, climate change is projected to worsen conditions (high temperatures and drought) in a region already vulnerable to climate variability, and to reduce water availability, hydropower potential, summer tourism, and in general, crop productivity. It is also projected to increase health risks due to heat waves and the frequency of wildfires. In Central and Eastern Europe, summer precipitation is projected to decrease, causing higher water stress. Health risks due to heat waves are projected to increase. Forest productivity is expected to decline and the frequency of peatland fires to increase.

In Northern Europe, climate change is initially projected to bring mixed effects, including some benefits such as reduced demand for heating, increased crop yields and increased forest growth. However, as climate change continues, its negative impacts (including more frequent winter floods, endangered ecosystems and increasing ground instability) are likely to outweigh its benefits.

IPCC Climate Change Europe: Adaptation to climate change is likely to benefit from experience gained in reaction to extreme climate events, by specifically implementing proactive climate change risk management adaptation plans. (Working Group II Contribution to the IPCC, 4th Assessment Report, Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Summary for Policy Makers.)