Published on February 20, 2014
summary climate change is affecting all regions in Europe a wide range of impacts on society and the environment are already visible further impacts are expected in future
temperature the last decade (2002–2011) was the warmest on record in Europe land temperature was 1.3° C warmer than the preindustrial average compared to the 1961–1990 average projections show that Europe could be 2.5–4° C warmer by the close of the twenty-first century
heat waves heat waves have increased in both frequency and length they have caused tens of thousands of deaths over the last decade the projected increase in heat waves could increase the number of extreme weather-related deaths over the next decades
precipitation precipitation is decreasing in southern regions precipitation is increasing in northern Europe climate change is projected to increase river flooding, particularly in northern Europe
rivers minimum river flows are projected to decrease significantly in summer in southern Europe river flow droughts appear to have become more severe and frequent in southern Europe belowground flow is declining in many central European watersheds
the Arctic the Arctic is warming faster than other regions. record low sea ice was observed in the Arctic in 2007, 2011 and 2012 melting of the Greenland ice sheet has doubled since the 1990s
glaciers 250 billion tonnes of mass has been lost each year between 2005 and 2009 on the Greenland ice sheet Glaciers in the Alps have lost two-thirds of their volume and continue to melt
sea level sea levels are rising, raising the risk of coastal flooding during storm events global average sea level has risen by 1.7mm a year in the 20th century it is likely that 21st century sea-level rise will be greater than during the 20th century
human health climate change plays a part in the transmission of certain diseases the tick species Ixodes ricinus is thriving further north further warming may make parts of Europe more suitable for disease-carrying mosquitos and sandflies the pollen season arrives 10 days earlier than 50 years ago
plants and animals widespread changes in plant and animal characteristics are already observed plants are flowering earlier in the year freshwater phytoplankton and zooplankton blooms are also appearing earlier
landcapes animals and plants are moving northward or uphill as their habitats warm the migration rate of many species is insufficient to keep pace with the speed of climate change they could be pushed towards extinction in the future mitigation requires the construction of local and regional biocorridors
agriculture water available for agriculture in southern Europe is decreasing the expansion of warm-season crops will continue to expand into more northerly latitudes Yields are projected to fall for some crops due to heat waves and droughts in central and southern Europe
adaptation adaptation means anticipating the adverse effects of climate change and taking appropriate action to prevent or minimize the damage they can cause adaptation also means taking advantage of opportunities that may arise
task most adaptation initiatives will be taken at the regional or local levels the ability to cope and adapt also differs across populations, economic sectors and regions within Europe working in pairs, students are asked to prepare a report with actionable recommendations for their region on one of the themes presented
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