EEA Report Identifies Climate Change Impacts and Vulnerability in Europe

EEA20 November 2012: The European Environment Agency (EEA) has published a report, titled “Climate Change, Impacts and Vulnerability in Europe 2012: An Indicator-Based Report,” which stresses that climate change already has observable impacts on environmental and social systems in Europe and that further impacts are anticipated in the future.

The report also identifies European regions most at risk from climate change and highlights how scenario development and monitoring can enhance understanding of climate impacts and vulnerabilities. The report presents several key messages, inter alia: climate change can increase vulnerabilities and deepen socioeconomic imbalances; damage costs are increasing; and monitoring and research can improve climate impact assessments and serve as a basis for adaptation actions.

The report identifies observed impacts in Europe, including: sea level rise; ocean acidification; northward expansion of some species; decreased river flows in southern and eastern Europe; increased flood incidence; establishment of alien plant species; reduction in forest growth; reduced heating demand and increased cooling demand; and  increased heat-wave mortality.

The report includes multiple chapters. One on changes in the climate system examines human influence, key climate variables and the cryosphere. The chapter on climate impacts on environmental systems considers oceans and coastal zones, freshwater quantity and quality, terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity and soil. The chapter on climate impacts on socio-economic systems and health focuses on agriculture, forests, fisheries, human health, energy, transport and tourism. The chapter on vulnerability to climate change describes river flooding, water scarcity and droughts, integrated vulnerability assessments, urban vulnerability, and damage costs. A final chapter addresses indicator and data needs. [Publication: Climate Change, Impacts and Vulnerability in Europe 2012: An Indicator-Based Report]