Extreme Weather Conditions in Europe

The weather is a changeable phenomenon. The scientists of Newcastle University (Great Britain) have analyzed the current changes of extreme weather conditions in European cities. According to the results of the research, until 2050-2100 such natural disasters as floods, heatwaves and droughts will occur much oftener than earlier.

Using all the available climate models and weather data, the team showed the results by 3 possible scenarios – low, middle and high. The research shows us that even in an optimistic case, the number of days with heatwaves will increase in all European cities.

South European cities will experience the largest amount of hot days and central cities will get the highest temperature from +2 °C to +7 °C for low-impact scenario and from +8 °C to +14 °C for the high-impact scenario.

All 571 cities studied saw a worsening in heatwaves and the high-impact scenario predicted southern Europe experiencing droughts 14 times worse than today.

The lead author, Selma Guerreiro, said: “Although southern European regions are adapted to cope with droughts, this level of change could be beyond the breaking point.

“Furthermore, most cities have considerable changes in more than one hazard, which highlights the substantial challenge cities face in managing climate risks.”

Besides, in southern cities, much more droughts will occur and in northern cities – floods.

Extreme Floods

According to the predictions, British Isles will bear the brunt of the worst floods. In accordance with the optimistic prognosis, about 85% of British cities located on rivers will face the most intensive floods. In accordance with the high-impact scenario, in a half of British cities, the water level will rise by more than 50% in the rivers.

The scientists believe that weather conditions in Almería and Málaga will change to worse until 2051-2100. These cities will experience extremely strong droughts, stronger than in 1951-2000. In general, circa 98% European cities should wait for very strong droughts.

Dublin, Helsinki, Riga, Vilnius and Zagreb will probably experience the extremest floods. According to the high-impact scenario, in these cities rivers will increase by more than 80%.

The implications of the study in terms of how Europe adapts to climate change are far-reaching, says Professor Richard Dawson, co-author and lead investigator of the study.

“The research highlights the urgent need to design and adapt our cities to cope with these future conditions.

“We are already seeing at first hand the implications of extreme weather events in our capital cities. In Paris, the Seine rose more than 4 metres above its normal water level. And as Cape Town prepares for its taps to run dry, this analysis highlights that such climate events are feasible in European cities too.”

Heatwaves in Europe

Stockholm and Rome could see the greatest increase in the number of heatwave days, while Prague and Vienna could see the greatest increase in maximum temperatures during heatwaves.

Lisbon and Madrid are in the top capital cities for increases in frequency and magnitude of droughts, while Athens, Nicosia, Valletta and Sofia might experience the worst increases in both drought and heatwaves.

Professor Dawson, who sits on the scientific steering committee for the conference, said: “A key objective for this conference is to bring together and catalyse action from researchers, policymakers and industry to address the urgent issue of preparing our cities, their population, buildings and infrastructure for climate change.”

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