Europe’s changing climate hazards — about the report

Briefing Published 17 Nov 2021 Last modified 26 Nov 2021
5 min read
Europe’s changing climate hazards report lets users explore the latest data on 32 climate hazard indices. It provides the big picture and also the detailed information needed for smarter decision-making to prevent the worst impacts of climate change from affecting communities and regions across Europe. Here, we show how information can help Europe tackle the hazards created by man-made climate change.

Key messages

  • This interactive web report gives an index-based overview of past and projected changes in Europes most important climate hazardsincluding rising temperatures, heatwaves, heavy precipitation, drought and flood risks, and fire weather, and how they impact European regions differently. 

  • The 32 climate hazard indices are organised according to 16 hazard categories, grouped into six main types (heat and cold, wet and dry, wind, snow and ice, coastalopen ocean)following the classification of climatic impact drivers adopted in the Sixth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

  • Tables and figures provide an overview of changes in climate hazards based on data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service and other partners. 

  • The report includes a review of key European data sources, which decision-makers and experts can apply to their specific needs (national and regional indices, climate portals and climate services, national risk assessments, reporting under the European Climate Law, etc.). 

  • Information on the selection process and technical information about the featured climate-related indices in Europe can be found in the related Technical Paper Climate-related hazard indices for Europe. 

Climatic extremes are increasingly affecting our lives. To adapt to this new realitywmust find innovative ways to safeguard people, property and key infrastructure. But first we need to better understand what is happening. The findings from this report provide important information on the different climate challenges faced across Europe. 

Who benefits from this report? 

The primary targets of this online report and its complementary products are European, national and sub-national policymakers and experts concerned with climate risk assessment and adaptation planning in Europe. 

Environment agencies and risk management authorities can use the tools to develop national climate change impact, vulnerability and risk assessments, as well as their own national and regional index sets and climate atlases. EU Member States can also use this information to report on observed and future climate-related hazards to the European Commission. 

The interactive features help stakeholders target regions for specific policies or for priority investment in adaptation measures in different sectors and areas affected by climate hazards. Climate-related service providers, scientists, non-governmental organisations, the media and the general public are also encouraged to explore the easy-to-use explorer functions in this report and on the Climate-ADAPT portal. 


Time to act: climate hazard indices and the policy connection 

Knowing what to expect from our climate can help policymakers prepare for change and plan how communities can best adapt to the new realities. With the EEAs Climate-ADAPT portal, the European Climate Data Explorer and other tools, decision-makers at all levels of government and in all affected sectors of the economy and society can prepare for climate change hazards now and in the future. 

On the back of the European Green Deal announcement in 2019, the European Commission published the new EU strategy on adaptation to climate change, which aims to forge a climate-resilient Europe by 2050. It called for more reliable information about climate change, its impacts and the adaptation needed at European and national levels. 

Enhanced climate-related insights also feed into other policy directions. In accordance with the European Climate Lawthe Commission regularly reviews Member States progress in adapting to climate change. In 2020, detailed requirements were tabled in an Implementing Regulation, which includes list of observed and future climate-related hazards, which countries are asked to report on every years. 

Whats more, the provisions of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism require EU Member States and other participating states to deliver periodic national risk assessments to the Commission, which has called for better coverage of climate change in future rounds. 

Finally, knowledge on regional climate hazards and risks is essential input to the Horizon Europe Mission Adaptation to climate change, which draws on inputs from the Copernicus Programme, Climate-ADAPT and other data hubs. 

The EEA is committed to further improving its products and services in support of the ambitious EU policy agenda related to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) and other Copernicus services are key partners in providing quality-controlled and consistent climate information to adaptation stakeholders across Europe. Future versions of this report and of the European Climate Data Explorer will include further climate indices, addressing a wider range of sectors. They may also provide interactive access to variations of the indices presented here to better reflect regional climate or environmental conditions. 

With this online report and related products, the EEA responds to policy developments and related information needs to support adaptation planning and implementation at the European, transnational, national and sub-national levels. 

The final set of 32 indices documented in the Europechanging climate hazards report was drawn up by the EEA and the European Topic Centre on Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation (ETC/CCA), with support from external experts. When new data and indices are validated and ready for visual renderingin particular from the Copernicus Climate Data Store, the report and underlying indices will be duly updated, creating a living product. 

The indices presented here cannot be exhaustive considering the wide range of climate conditions, climate-related hazards and adaptation contexts across Europe. National or regional climate atlases and climate change hazard and risk assessments will therefore typically consider further climate variables, climate-related hazards and associated indices. 

Visualisation of changing climate hazards and underlying data sources 


Indices are only as good as the data they contain and how easily decision-makers can apply them to their needs. The indices in Europes changing climate hazards report were selected by the EEA and the European Topic Centre on Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation (ETC/CCA) with support from external experts. The selection considers several criteria, including the availability of data and how relevant it is for different users preparing for and adapting to climate change across Europe. The report presents each of the 32 indices alongside definitions, sectoral applicability, information on past and projected changes and general remarks. 


  • Past trends and projected changes for all 32 indices will ideally be computed and presented in the same way, based on a single high-quality data source, but this is not currently feasible. 

  • About half of the indices in the tool are based on climate impact indicators available in the Copernicus Climate Data Store. These indices are visualised by interactive maps and can be further explored in the European Climate Data Explorer. 

  • Most of the other indices are computed and visualised using a common climate data set comprising reanalysis and bias-adjusted projections from the Copernicus Climate Data Store. These indices are visualised by time series graphs covering past and future and by a map panel showing future changes. 

  • Quantitative and qualitative assessments for the remaining indices are based on selected EEA indicators and/or summary information from the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 2021. 

  • Past trends and projected changes for the climate hazards reported here are thus generally consistent with the AR6, but some differences may occur because of differences in scenarios, climate models, specific indices and models applied. 

  • Expert knowledge or advice is necessary if climate data are to be used for adaptation decisions at sub-national or local levels. 

Further information on the underlying data sets, calculation methods and visualisations is available in this background document. 

A quick tour of EEA products related to climate hazards in Europe 


Consult technical information on the indices: Technical Paper 1/2020 Climate-related hazard indices for Europe by the ETC/CCA

Consult the European Climate Data Explorer on the EEAs Climate-ADAPT portal, based on data delivered by Copernicus Climate Change System.  


Learn about the data sources behind the indices presented. 

Consult the acronyms and key concepts used in this report. 

Learn about indicators on the Climate-ADAPT portal

Chapters of the Europe's changing climate hazards report

  1. Heat and cold

  2. Wet and dry

  3. Wind

  4. Snow and ice

  5. Coastal

  6. Open ocean


Back to main page of the report


The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.


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