EASAC: Extreme weather events increase in Europe


In 2013 a paper by the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) investigated on trends in extreme weather events in Europe and implications for national and European Union adaptation strategies. Now a study update found evidence for overall increases in the frequency and economic costs of extreme events.

More Extreme Weather Events

Global floods and extreme rainfall events have surged by more than 50% this decade, and are now occurring at a rate four times higher than in 1980. Other extreme climatological events such as storms, droughts and heatwaves have increased by more than a third this decade and are being recorded twice as frequently as in 1980, the paper says.

There has also been more recent evidence on some of the underlying drivers, which include weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)1. For European countries this could mean severe decrease in temperature. Greenland, Iceland, UK and Scandinavia could face up to 9 °C less throughout the year.

Climate related damage doubled

The paper, based partly on figures compiled by the German insurance company Munich Re, shows that climate-related loss and damage events have risen by 92% since 2010. This clarifies the importance of taking climate change related hazards into account when planning (city) projects.

The EASAC study, Extreme weather events in Europe: Preparing for climate change adaptation was compiled by experts from 27 national science academies in the EU, Norway and Switzerland, although the data was not peer-reviewed.

1 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that an AMOC slowdown is ‘very likely’ (90–100% probability) over the coming century in response to human-made climate change, but that “It also remains very unlikely that the AMOC will undergo an abrupt transition or collapse in the 21st century for the scenarios considered.”

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