Europe needs to plan for future probabilities of extreme weather. Heat waves, floods and storms do not respect national frontiers, so there is a need for action at both national and EU levels.
The IPCC has advised that the frequency of many types of extreme weather events will continue to grow globally in coming years. Now the national science academies of EU Member States bring into focus for the first time the scale of the challenge in Europe. Highlighting a 60% rise over the last 30 years in the costs of damage from extreme weather events across Europe, EASAC warns of the grave economic and social consequences if European policy makers do not use the latest estimates of future droughts, floods and storms in their planning while adapting to global warming and the resulting climate disruption.
"Given the tragic events this year in the rest of the world and the recent IPCC report, EASAC feels obliged to draw attention to the growing impact of extreme weather in Europe," says EASAC President Sir Brian Heap. "This EASAC report follows a highly detailed assessment by a group of Europe's leading experts on climate (headed up by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute) of historic and likely future changes in extreme weather over Europe. From the major loss of lives in heat waves to the economic and human costs of floods and storms, the implications are worrying. They present the European Union and its Member States with significant challenges in preparing Europe for a future with greater frequency of extreme weather. In planning to adapt to such a future, it is critical to use the latest scientific knowledge on how different types of extreme events are expected to develop. This depends not only on the type of event but also where in Europe is being considered since the EU's 28 countries and over 500 million population live in very different climate zones, from the Mediterranean sub-tropical to the Arctic."
The EASAC report identifies 5 areas requiring immediate EU-driven action:
Heat-waves. We need to prepare for heat-waves and how to reduce the deaths experienced in previous years by further studies of the factors affecting health outcomes.