EEA Map Projects Increased Urban Flood Risk, Heat Waves in European Cities

EEA1 March 2013: The European Environment Agency (EEA) produced an Eye on Earth map that highlights potential climate-induced flood risk and temperature increases in European cities, in advance of the First Eye on Earth User Conference, which will be held from 4-6 March 2013, in Dublin, Ireland.

The map highlights the potential for cities to be flooded from heavy rain and to experience temperature increases based on the mean percentage of each city that is covered with impervious services, such as asphalt, buildings and concrete. The cities of Barcelona, Bucharest, Paris and Thessaloniki have more than 75% of their surface area "sealed," according to the map, which means that water cannot disperse as quickly into the ground in these cities. In addition, heavy rainfall can also influence urban flood risk. Sixty percent of surfaces in Copenhagen, Denmark, are sealed, according to the EEA. However, in 2011, extremely heavy rainfall overwhelmed city sewage systems, which were unable to cope with the high water volume, and caused €650-700 million in damages.

Further, as the percentage of artificial areas increases, temperatures are also expected to rise, contributing to increases in the number and length of heat waves and the urban heat island effect, according to the EEA.

Eye on Earth is a public information network and online mapping tool created by the EEA and its partners. It brings together data providers and business, civil society and research communities. The User Conference aims to inspire audiences to participate in and contribute to the Eye on Earth Network. [EEA Press Release[Map on Heat Wave Risk of European Cities[Eye on Earth User Conference]