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Climate hazards are increasing in frequency and severity across Europe; new regional overview published

News Published 17 Nov 2021 Last modified 22 Nov 2021
2 min read
Photo: © Jonathan Ford on Unsplash
As extreme weather events and other climate hazards are increasing in frequency and severity across Europe, solid information is needed for assessing climate risks and planning for adaptation. The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) new interactive report, published today, gives an updated overview of how climate hazards are changing across Europe’s different regions.

The EEA’s new Europe’s changing climate hazards’ is an interactive report that gives an overview of past and projected changes in Europe’s most important climate hazards and how they impact European regions. The EEA report is especially valuable for policymakers and experts concerned with climate risk assessment and adaptation planning in Europe. EU Member States can also use the information to report on climate-related hazards to the European Commission.

The report, developed with the support of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) and other EEA partners, gives access to both generalised and detailed information on regional climate hazards as well as insights into how these hazards can affect ecosystems and economic sectors.

The report echoes the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that climate change is undeniably responsible for an increase in extreme weather events but provides more detailed information for Europe.

Projected changes include that mean temperatures will continue rising across Europe and hot extremes are expected to increase even faster. Europeans need to prepare for more days with extreme heat and for more extreme precipitation events, the report states.

  • Southern Europe should prepare for hotter summers, more frequent droughts and an increased fire hazard.
  • In Northern Europe, annual precipitation and heavy rainfall are likely to increase.
  • Central Europe is likely to experience lower summer rainfall, but also more frequent and stronger weather extremes, including heavy precipitation, river floods, droughts and fire hazards.
  • Sea surface temperature, marine heatwaves and water acidity are projected to increase in all European regional seas. Sea level rise is accelerating across all European coasts, with the exception of the Northern Baltic Sea.

Further information on many climate-related hazards can be found in the European Climate Data Explorer, jointly developed by the EEA and C3S.

Background

The Glasgow Climate Pact, agreed at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), emphasises the urgency of scaling up climate adaptation and sharing knowledge and technologies to enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change. The document also recognises the importance of best available science for effective climate action and policy making, including data on climate hazards, risks, and loss and damages.

The EU strategy on adaptation to climate change aims to forge a climate-resilient Europe by 2050, calling for more reliable information about climate change, its impacts and the adaptation needed.

In accordance with the European Climate Law, the European Commission regularly reviews Member States’ progress in adapting to climate change, including on observed and future climate-related hazards, which countries are asked to report on every two years.

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism requires EU Member States and other participating states to deliver periodic national risk assessments to the Commission.

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