Europe’s Climate Forecast: Unsettling

From Truth Dig

By Paul Brown, Climate News Network
Feb 1, 2013

LONDON—With the European land surface warming rapidly, rainfall patterns changing and sea levels rising ever faster, southern Europe will suffer most from climate change. But there is an urgent need for countries across the continent to adapt to change, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Temperatures are already 1.3C above the pre-industrial average and are expected to go on rising. This brings gains to some countries in northern Europe, with higher crop yields and lower heating costs, while the south loses.

It is the countries currently struggling most at the moment economically, Greece, Spain and Portugal, that will fare worst under climate change. The EEA says all three countries will lose both harvests and tourists, two of their main economic props, as a result of rising heat and low summer rainfall.

Northern Europe does not escape unscathed. River flooding is already a problem and annual sea level rise, which has already doubled in the last 20 years, and is currently at 3 mm a year, is expected to rise further. All the countries around the North Sea are now vulnerable to storm surges.

It’s real and it’s now

The latest assessment of how climate change is affecting Europe, published every four years by the Agency and due out in March, is the main evidence being used by the European Union to underpin its policy of adapting to a warming world.

Billions of euros will be spent trying to stave off the worst effects of climate change, which the Agency says are already going to happen whatever we do now to mitigate carbon emissions. Temperatures in Europe are expected to rise as much as 4C this century.

Professor Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director, has said: ”Climate change is a reality. The extent and speed of it is becoming ever more evident. This means every part of the economy, including households, has to adapt.”

While in some places changes are beneficial, for example an earlier spring and longer growing season, the overall effects are negative. The further south in Europe climatologists investigate, the more they see climate change affecting both human and natural populations.

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