European Environment Agency Models Predict Climate Change Impacts

3 May 2012: The European Environment Agency (EEA) has released a series of maps produced using Eye on Earth, which predict climate change impacts in Europe through 2100. Based on projections from the ENSEMBLES project, Europe will be, on average, 1.5°C warmer from 2021-2050 than it was from 1960-1990, and the temperature increase will average 3°C between 2071-2100, with the highest warming in Eastern Scandinavia, and South and South-East Europe.

The EEA underscores that, while 3°C seems like a small increase, as an average it could mask large extremes, resulting in increased heat waves and droughts, impacting water supply, agriculture and human health. The maps also predict that annual precipitation will decrease in Southern Europe while increasing in the North, and project that all of Europe will experience increased winter precipitation and decreased summer precipitation. The EEA highlights these trends could result in longer and more frequent droughts in the Mediterranean region, while flood events may become more frequent in Northern Europe. Underscoring that up 80% of the water in Southern Europe is used for agriculture, the EEA underlines that the maps illustrate the need for European countries to adapt their agricultural systems to water stress.

The climate data used in the maps is from 25 regional climate models, run in the ENSEMBLES project, under A1B emission scenario, which assumes rapid economic growth, global population of nine billion by 2050 and then declining, and converging income across regions. The EEA highlights that this is a single scenario and that, by rapidly reducing emissions, the impacts could reduced, but qualified that Europe would also need to adapt. [EEA Press Release]