Impacts, vulnerability and risks

Page Last modified 23 Nov 2020
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The average annual surface temperature in Europe has been increasing at a faster rate than that of the global average temperature. The largest temperature increases have occurred in southern Europe in summer and in the Arctic region in winter.

At the same time, precipitation is generally decreasing in southern Europe and increasing in the north, albeit with significant seasonal variations. Moreover, projected increases in the intensity and frequency of heat waves and floods, and changes in the distribution of some infectious diseases and pollen can adversely affect human health.

Climate change represents an additional pressure on ecosystems. It causes northward and uphill shifts in the distribution of many plant and animal species, which can lead to local extinctions. Furthermore, climate change impacts many socio-economic sectors, including agriculture, forestry, energy production, tourism and infrastructure. Finally, most of the projected economic impacts in Europe are adverse.

European regions, including urban areas, that are particularly vulnerable to climate change include:

  • southern Europe and the Mediterranean basin;
  • mountainous areas;
  • coastal zones, deltas and floodplains;
  • Europe's far north and the Arctic.


See also: EEA story map on climate change impacts (also available as pdf)



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