Published (reviewed and quality assured)
Justification for indicator selection
Climate warming affects the life cycles of many animal species, particularly those such as butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies that are sensitive to temperature. Milder springs are allowing earlier onset of breeding and extra generations to emerge during the year. Furthermore, populations may explode if the young are not exposed to normal predation pressures. Conversely, populations may crash if the emergence of vulnerable young is not in synchrony with their food source or if shorter hibernation times lead to declines in body condition -- as evidenced in the lower survival rates of some amphibians (Reading, 2007).
Insect pests are likely to become more abundant as temperatures increase (Cannon, 1998). As the impacts of climate change on ecosystems favour generalists, and as warmer temperatures increase insect survival and reproduction rates, more frequent, severe and unpredictable pest outbreaks may occur (McKinney and Lockwood, 1999). In temperate regions, milder winters are allowing increased rates of winter survival (Bale et al., 2002) and it has been estimated that, with a 2 °C temperature increase, some insects could undergo up to five additional life cycles per season (Yamamura and Kiritani, 1998).
- References Bale, J. S. Masters; G. J., Hodkinson, I. D. et al., 2002. Herbivory in global climate change research: direct effects of rising temperatures on insect herbivores. Global Change Biology 8: 1-16. Both, C. and Marvelde, L., 2007. Climate change and timing of avian breeding and migration throughout Europe. Climate Research 35: 93-105. Both, C., Bouwhuis, S., Lessells, C. M., and Visser, M. E., 2006. Climate change and population declines in a long-distance migratory bird. Nature 441: 81-83. Cannon, R. J. C., 1998. The implications of predicted climate change for insect pests in the UK, with emphasis on non-indigenous species. Global Change Biology 4: 785-796. CEH, Morton Frederiksen, 2005. Cited in 'A warm unwelcome', by Audrey Schulman. http://www.grist.org/news/maindish/2005/01/25/schulman-seabirds/ . Crick, H. Q. P. and Sparks T. H., 1999. Climate change related to egg-laying trends. Nature 399: 423-424. McKinney, M. L. and Lockwood, J. L., 1999. Biotic homogenization: a few winners replacing many losers in the next mass extinction. Trends in Ecology and Evoloution 14: 450-453. Yamamura, K. and Kiritani, K., 1998. A simple method to estimate the potential increase in the number of generations under global warming in temperate zones. Applied Entomology and Zoology 33: 289-298.
- Changes in egg-laying dates (1980-2004) of the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)
Policy context and targets
In April 2009 the European Commission presented a White Paper on the framework for adaptation policies and measures to reduce the European Union's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The aim is to increase the resilience to climate change of health, property and the productive functions of land, inter alia by improving the management of water resources and ecosystems. More knowledge is needed on climate impact and vulnerability but a considerable amount of information and research already exists which can be shared better through a proposed Clearing House Mechanism. The White Paper stresses the need to mainstream adaptation into existing and new EU policies. A number of Member States have already taken action and several have prepared national adaptation plans. The EU is also developing actions to enhance and finance adaptation in developing countries as part of a new post-2012 global climate agreement expected in Copenhagen (Dec. 2009). For more information see: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/adaptation/index_en.htm
No targets have been specified
Related policy documents
No related policy documents have been specified
Key policy question
Methodology for indicator calculation
Methodology for gap filling
No methodology references available.
EEA data references
- No datasets have been specified here.
External data references
Data sources in latest figures
Data sets uncertainty
No uncertainty has been specified
Short term work
Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.
Long term work
Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.
Responsibility and ownership
EEA Contact InfoHans-Martin Füssel
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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