1267
23
Europe
Coordinating Lead Authors:
R. Sari Kovats (UK), Riccardo Valentini (Italy)
Lead Authors:
Laurens M. Bouwer (Netherlands), Elena Georgopoulou (Greece), Daniela Jacob (Germany),
Eric Martin (France), Mark Rounsevell (UK), Jean-Francois Soussana (France)
Contributing Authors:
Martin Beniston (Switzerland), Maria Vincenza Chiriacò (Italy), Philippe Cury (France),
Michael Davies (UK), Paula Harrison (UK), Olaf Jonkeren (Netherlands), Mark Koetse
(Netherlands), Markus Lindner (Finland), Andreas Matzarakis (Greece/Germany),
Reinhard Mechler (Germany), Annette Menzel (Germany), Marc Metzger (UK),
Luca Montanarella (Italy), Antonio Navarra (Italy), Juliane Petersen (Germany), Martin Price
(UK), Boris Revich (Russian Federation), Piet Rietveld (Netherlands), Cristina Sabbioni (Italy),
Yannis Sarafidis (Greece), Vegard Skirbekk (Austria), Donatella Spano (Italy), Jan E. Vermaat
(Netherlands), Paul Watkiss (UK), Meriwether Wilson (UK), Thomasz Zylicz (Poland)
Review Editors:
Lucka Kajfez Bogataj (Slovenia), Roman Corobov (Moldova), Ramón Vallejo (Spain)
This chapter should be cited as:
Kovats
, R.S., R. Valentini, L.M. Bouwer, E. Georgopoulou, D. Jacob, E. Martin, M. Rounsevell, and J.-F. Soussana,
2014: Europe. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part B: Regional Aspects.
Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change [Barros, V.R., C.B. Field, D.J. Dokken, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi,
Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L. White
(eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, pp. 1267-1326.
23
1268
Executive Summary.......................................................................................................................................................... 1270
23.1. Introduction .......................................................................................................................................................... 1274
23.1.1. Scope and Route Map of Chapter ................................................................................................................................................... 1274
23.1.2. Policy Frameworks .......................................................................................................................................................................... 1274
23.1.3. Conclusions from Previous Assessments ......................................................................................................................................... 1274
23.2. Current and Future Trends .................................................................................................................................... 1275
23.2.1 Non-Climate Trends ........................................................................................................................................................................ 1275
23.2.2. Observed and Projected Climate Change ........................................................................................................................................ 1275
23.2.2.1. Observed Climate Change ............................................................................................................................................... 1275
23.2.2.2. Projected Climate Changes ............................................................................................................................................. 1276
23.2.2.3. Projected Changes in Climate Extremes .......................................................................................................................... 1276
23.2.3. Observed and Projected Trends in Riverflow and Drought .............................................................................................................. 1279
23.3. Implications of Climate Change for Production Systems and Physical Infrastructure ......................................... 1279
23.3.1. Settlements ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 1279
23.3.1.1. Coastal Flooding ............................................................................................................................................................. 1279
23.3.1.2. River and Pluvial Flooding ............................................................................................................................................... 1280
23.3.1.3. Windstorms ..................................................................................................................................................................... 1281
23.3.1.4. Mass Movements and Avalanches .................................................................................................................................. 1281
23.3.2. Built Environment ........................................................................................................................................................................... 1281
23.3.3. Transport ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 1281
23.3.4. Energy Production, Transmission, and Use ...................................................................................................................................... 1282
23.3.5. Industry and Manufacturing ........................................................................................................................................................... 1283
23.3.6. Tourism ........................................................................................................................................................................................... 1283
23.3.7. Insurance and Banking ................................................................................................................................................................... 1283
23.4. Implications of Climate Change for Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, and Bioenergy Production ......................... 1284
23.4.1. Plant (Food) Production .................................................................................................................................................................. 1284
23.4.2. Livestock Production ....................................................................................................................................................................... 1286
23.4.3. Water Resources and Agriculture .................................................................................................................................................... 1286
23.4.4. Forestry ........................................................................................................................................................................................... 1287
23.4.5. Bioenergy Production ..................................................................................................................................................................... 1288
Box 23-1. Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Services by Sub-region ....................................................... 1288
23.4.6. Fisheries and Aquaculture ............................................................................................................................................................... 1290
23.5. Implications of Climate Change for Health and Social Welfare ............................................................................ 1290
23.5.1. Human Population Health ............................................................................................................................................................... 1290
23.5.2. Critical Infrastructure ...................................................................................................................................................................... 1291
Table of Contents
1269
Europe Chapter 23
23
23.5.3. Social Impacts ................................................................................................................................................................................. 1291
23.5.4. Cultural Heritage and Landscapes .................................................................................................................................................. 1292
Box 23-2. Implications of Climate Change for European Wine and Vineyards .......................................................................... 1292
23.6. Implications of Climate Change for the Protection of Environmental Quality and Biological Conservation ...... 1293
23.6.1. Air Quality ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 1293
23.6.2. Soil Quality and Land Degradation ................................................................................................................................................. 1293
23.6.3. Water Quality ................................................................................................................................................................................. 1294
23.6.4. Terrestrial and Freshwater Ecosystems ........................................................................................................................................... 1294
23.6.5. Coastal and Marine Ecosystems ..................................................................................................................................................... 1294
23.7. Cross-Sectoral Adaptation Decision Making and Risk Management ................................................................... 1295
Box 23-3. National and Local Adaptation Strategies ................................................................................................................ 1295
23.7.1. Coastal Zone Management ............................................................................................................................................................ 1296
23.7.2. Integrated Water Resource Management ....................................................................................................................................... 1296
23.7.3. Disaster Risk Reduction and Risk Management .............................................................................................................................. 1296
23.7.4. Land Use Planning .......................................................................................................................................................................... 1296
23.7.5. Rural Development ......................................................................................................................................................................... 1297
23.7.6. Economic Assessments of Adaptation ............................................................................................................................................. 1297
23.7.7. Barriers and Limits to Adaptation ................................................................................................................................................... 1298
23.8. Co-benefits and Unintended Consequences of Adaptation and Mitigation ......................................................... 1298
23.8.1. Production and Infrastructure ......................................................................................................................................................... 1298
23.8.2. Agriculture, Forestry, and Bioenergy ............................................................................................................................................... 1299
23.8.3. Social and Health Impacts .............................................................................................................................................................. 1299
23.8.4. Environmental Quality and Biological Conservation ....................................................................................................................... 1299
23.9. Synthesis of Key Findings ..................................................................................................................................... 1300
23.9.1. Key Vulnerabilities .......................................................................................................................................................................... 1300
23.9.2. Climate Change Impacts Outside Europe and Inter-regional Implications ...................................................................................... 1303
23.9.3. Effects of Observed Climate Change in Europe ............................................................................................................................... 1303
23.9.4. Key Knowledge Gaps and Research Needs ..................................................................................................................................... 1304
References ....................................................................................................................................................................... 1306
Frequently Asked Questions
23.1: Will I still be able to live on the coast in Europe? ........................................................................................................................... 1305
23.2: Will climate change introduce new infectious diseases into Europe? ............................................................................................. 1305
23.3: Will Europe need to import more food because of climate change? ............................................................................................... 1305
1270
Chapter 23 Europe
23
Executive Summary
Observed climate trends and future climate projections show regionally varying changes in temperature and rainfall in Europe
(high confidence), {23.2.2} in agreement with Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) findings, with projected increases in temperature throughout
Europe and increasing precipitation in Northern Europe and decreasing precipitation in Southern Europe. {23.2.2.2} Climate projections show a
marked increase in high temperature extremes (high confidence), meteorological droughts (medium confidence), {23.2.3} and heavy precipitation
events (high confidence), {23.2.2.3} with variations across Europe, and small or no changes in wind speed extremes (low confidence) except
increases in winter wind speed extremes over Central and Northern Europe (medium confidence). {23.2.2.3}
Observed climate change in Europe has had wide ranging effects throughout the European region including the distribution,
phenology, and abundance of animal, fish, and plant species (high confidence) {23.6.4-5; Table 23-6}; stagnating wheat yields in
some sub-regions (medium confidence, limited evidence) {23.4.1}; and forest decline in some sub-regions (medium confidence).
{23.4.4}
Climate change has affected both human health (from increased heat waves) (medium confidence) {23.5.1} and animal health
(changes in infectious diseases) (high confidence). {23.4.2} There is less evidence of impacts on social systems attributable to observed climate
change, except in pastoralist populations (low confidence). {23.5.3}
Climate change will increase the likelihood of systemic failures across European countries caused by extreme climate events
affecting multiple sectors (medium confidence). {23.2.2.3, 23.2.3, 23.3-6, 23.9.1} Extreme weather events currently have significant
impacts in Europe in multiple economic sectors as well as adverse social and health effects (high confidence). {Table 23-1} There is limited evidence
that resilience to heat waves and fires has improved in Europe (medium confidence), {23.9.1, 23.5} while some countries have improved their
flood protection following major flood events. {23.9.1, 23.7.3} Climate change is very likely to increase the frequency and intensity of heat
waves, particularly in Southern Europe (high confidence), {23.2.2} with mostly adverse implications for health, agriculture, forestry, energy
production and use, transport, tourism, labor productivity, and the built environment. {23.3.2-4, 23.3.6, 23.4.1-4, 23.5.1; Table 23-1}
The provision of ecosystem services is projected to decline across all service categories in response to climate change in Southern
Europe (high confidence). {23.9.1; Box 23-1} Both gains and losses in the provision of ecosystem services are projected for the other
European sub-regions (high confidence), but the provision of cultural services is projected to decline in the Continental, Northern, and Southern
sub-regions (low confidence). {Box 23-1}
Climate change is expected to impede economic activity in Southern Europe more than in other sub-regions (medium confidence)
{23.9.1; Table 23-4}, and may increase future intra-regional disparity (low confidence). {23.9.1} There are also important differences
in vulnerability within sub-regions; for example, plant species and some economic sectors are most vulnerable in high mountain areas due to
lack of adaptation options (medium confidence). {23.9.1} Southern Europe is particularly vulnerable to climate change (high confidence),
as multiple sectors will be adversely affected (tourism, agriculture, forestry, infrastructure, energy, population health) (high confidence).
{23.9; Table 23-4}
The impacts of sea level rise on populations and infrastructure in coastal regions can be reduced by adaptation (medium
confidence). {23.3.1, 23.5.3}
Populations in urban areas are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts because of the high density of
people and built infrastructure (medium confidence). {23.3, 23.5.1}
Synthesis of evidence across sectors and sub-regions confirm that there are limits to adaptation from physical, social, economic,
and technological factors (high confidence). {23.7; Table 23-3}
Adaptation is further impeded because climate change affects multiple
sectors. {23.7} The majority of published assessments are based on climate projections in the range 1°C to 4°C global mean temperature per
century. Limited evidence exists regarding the potential impacts in Europe under high rates of warming (>4°C global mean temperature per
century). {23.9.1}
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Europe Chapter 23
23
Impacts by Sector
Sea level rise and increases in extreme rainfall are projected to further increase coastal and river flood risk in Europe and,
without adaptive measures, will substantially increase flood damages (people affected and economic losses) (high confidence).
{23.3.1, 23.5.1}
Adaptation can prevent most of the projected damages (high confidence, based on medium evidence, high agreement) but
there may be constraints to building flood defenses in some areas. {23.3.1, 23.7.1} Direct economic river flood damages in Europe have
increased over recent decades (high confidence) but this increase is due to development in flood zones and not due to observed climate
change. {23.3.1.2; SREX 4.5} Some areas in Europe show changes in river flood occurrence related to observed changes in extreme river
discharge (medium confidence). {23.2.3}
Climate change is projected to affect the impacts of hot and cold weather extremes on transport leading to economic damage
and/or adaptation costs, as well as some benefits (e.g., reduction of maintenance costs) during winter (medium confidence).
{23.3.3}
Climate change is projected to reduce severe accidents in road transport (medium confidence) and adversely affect inland water
transport in summer in some rivers (e.g., the Rhine) after 2050 (medium confidence). Damages to rail infrastructure from high temperatures
may also increase (medium confidence). Adaptation through maintenance and operational measures can reduce adverse impacts to some
extent.
Climate change is expected to affect future energy production and transmission. {23.3.4} Hydropower production is likely to decrease
in all sub-regions except Scandinavia (high confidence). {23.3.4} Climate change is unlikely to affect wind energy production before 2050
(medium confidence) but will have a negative impact in summer and a varied impact in winter after 2050 (medium confidence). Climate
change is likely to decrease thermal power production during summer (high confidence). {23.3.4} Climate change will increase the problems
associated with overheating in buildings (medium confidence). {23.3.2} Although climate change is very likely to decrease space heating demand
(high confidence), cooling demand will increase (very high confidence) although income growth mostly drives projected cooling demand up to
2050 (medium confidence). {23.3.4} More energy-efficient buildings and cooling systems as well as demand-side management will reduce future
energy demands. {23.3.4}
After 2050, tourism activity is projected to decrease in Southern Europe (low confidence) and increase in Northern and Continental
Europe (medium confidence). No significant impacts on the tourism sector are projected before 2050 in winter or summer tourism except for
ski tourism in low-altitude sites and under limited adaptation (medium confidence). {23.3.6} Artificial snowmaking may prolong the activity of
some ski resorts (medium confidence). {23.3.6}
Climate change is likely to increase cereal yields in Northern Europe (medium confidence, disagreement) but decrease yields in
Southern Europe (high confidence). {23.4.1} In Northern Europe, climate change is very likely to extend the seasonal activity of pests and
plant diseases (high confidence). {23.4.1} Yields of some arable crop species like wheat have been negatively affected by observed warming in
some European countries since the 1980s (medium confidence, limited evidence). {23.4.1} Compared to AR4, new evidence regarding future
yields in Northern Europe is less consistent regarding the magnitude and sign of change. Climate change may adversely affect dairy production in
Southern Europe because of heat stress in lactating cows (medium confidence). {23.4.2} Climate change has contributed to vector-borne disease
in ruminants in Europe (high confidence) {23.4.2} and northward expansion of tick disease vectors (medium confidence). {23.4.2, 23.5.1}
Climate change will increase irrigation needs (high confidence) but future irrigation will be constrained by reduced runoff,
demand from other sectors, and by economic costs. {23.4.1, 23.4.3}
By the 2050s, irrigation will not be sufficient to prevent damage
from heat waves to crops in some sub-regions (medium confidence). System costs will increase under all climate scenarios (high confidence).
{23.4.3} Integrated management of water, also across countries’ boundaries, is needed to address future competing demands among agriculture,
energy, conservation, and human settlements. {23.7.2}
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Chapter 23 Europe
23
As a result of increased evaporative demand, climate change is likely to significantly reduce water availability from river
abstraction and from groundwater resources (medium confidence)
, in the context of increased demand (from agriculture, energy and
industry, and domestic use) and cross-sectoral implications that are not fully understood. {23.4.3, 23.9.1} Some adaptation is possible through
uptake of more water-efficient technologies and water-saving strategies. {23.4.3, 23.7.2}
Climate change will change the geographic distribution of wine grape varieties (high confidence) and this will reduce the value
of wine products and the livelihoods of local wine communities in Southern and Continental Europe (medium confidence) and
increase production in Northern Europe (low confidence). {23.4.1, 23.3.5, 23.5.4; Box 23-2}
Some adaptation is possible through
technologies and good practice. {Box 23-2}
Climate warming will increase forest productivity in Northern Europe (medium confidence), {23.4.4} although damage from pests
and diseases in all sub-regions will increase due to climate change (high confidence). {23.4.4} Wildfire risk in Southern Europe (high confidence)
and damages from storms in Central Europe (low confidence) may also increase due to climate change. {23.4.4} Climate change is likely to
cause ecological and socioeconomic damages from shifts in forest tree species range (from southwest to northeast) (medium confidence), and
in pest species distributions (low confidence). {23.4.4} Forest management measures can enhance ecosystem resilience (medium confidence).
{23.4.4}
Observed warming has shifted marine fish species ranges to higher latitudes (high confidence) and reduced body size in species
(medium confidence). {23.4.6} There is limited and diverging evidence on climate change impacts on net fisheries economic turnover. Local
economic impacts attributable to climate change will depend on the market value of (high temperature tolerant) invasive species. {23.4.6}
Climate change is unlikely to entail relocation of fishing fleets (high confidence). {23.4.6} Observed higher water temperatures have adversely
affected both wild and farmed freshwater salmon production in the southern part of their distribution (high confidence). {23.4.6} High
temperatures may increase the frequency of harmful algal blooms (low confidence). {23.4.6}
Climate change will affect bioenergy cultivation patterns in Europe by shifting northward their potential area of production
(medium confidence). {23.4.5}
Elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO
2
) can improve drought tolerance of bioenergy crop species due to
improved plant water use, maintaining high yields in future climate scenarios in temperate regions (low confidence). {23.4.5}
Climate change is likely to affect human health in Europe. Heat-related deaths and injuries are likely to increase, particularly in Southern
Europe (medium confidence). {23.5.1} Climate change may change the distribution and seasonal pattern of some human infections, including
those transmitted by arthropods (medium confidence), and increase the risk of introduction of new infectious diseases (low confidence).
{23.5.1}
Climate change and sea level rise may damage European cultural heritage, including buildings, local industries, landscapes, archaeological
sites, and iconic places (medium confidence), and some cultural landscapes may be lost forever (low confidence). {23.5.4; Table 23-3}
Climate change may adversely affect background levels of tropospheric ozone (low confidence; limited evidence, low agreement),
assuming no change in emissions, but the implications for future particulate pollution (which is more health-damaging) are very
uncertain. {23.6.1}
Higher temperatures may have affected trends in ground level tropospheric ozone (low confidence). {23.6.1} Climate
change is likely to decrease surface water quality due to higher temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns (medium confidence),
{23.6.3} and is likely to increase soil salinity in coastal regions (low confidence). {23.6.2} Climate change may also increase soil erosion (from
increased extreme events) and reduce soil fertility (low confidence, limited evidence). {23.6.2}
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Europe Chapter 23
23
Observed climate change is affecting a wide range of flora and fauna, including plant pests and diseases (high confidence)
{23.4.1, 23.4.4, 23.6.4} and the disease vectors and hosts (medium confidence). {23.4.2}
Climate change is very likely to cause
changes in habitats and species, with local extinctions (high confidence) and continental-scale shifts in species distributions (medium confidence).
{23.6.4} The habitat of alpine plants is very likely to be significantly reduced (high confidence). {23.6.4} Phenological mismatch will constrain
both terrestrial and marine ecosystem functioning under climate change (high confidence), {23.6.4-5} with a reduction in some ecosystem services
(low confidence). {23.6.4; Box 23-1} The introduction and expansion of invasive species, especially those with high migration rates, from outside
Europe is likely to increase with climate change (medium confidence). {23.6.4} Climate change is likely to entail the loss or displacement of
coastal wetlands (high confidence). {23.6.5} Climate change threatens the effectiveness of European conservation areas (low confidence),
{23.6.4} and stresses the need for habitat connectivity through specific conservation policies. {23.6.4}
Adaptation
The capacity to adapt in Europe is high compared to other world regions, but there are important differences in impacts and in
the capacity to respond between and within the European sub-regions.
In Europe, adaptation policy has been developed at international
(European Union), national, and local government levels, {23.7} including the prioritization of adaptation options. There is limited systematic
information on current implementation or effectiveness of adaptation measures or policies. {Box 23-3} Some adaptation planning has been
integrated into coastal and water management, as well as disaster risk management. {23.7.1-3} There is limited evidence of adaptation planning
in rural development or land use planning. {23.7.4-5}
Adaptation will incur a cost, estimated from detailed bottom-up sector-specific studies for coastal defenses, energy production, energy use,
and agriculture. {23.7.6} The costs of adapting buildings (houses, schools, hospitals) and upgrading flood defenses increase under all scenarios
relative to no climate change (high confidence). {23.3.2} Some impacts will be unavoidable owing to limits (physical, technological, social,
economic, or political). {23.7.7; Table 23-3}
There is also emerging evidence regarding opportunities and unintended consequences of policies, strategies, and measures that
address adaptation and/or mitigation goals. {23.8} Some agricultural practices can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and also
increase resilience of crops to temperature and rainfall variability. {23.8.2} There is evidence for unintended consequences of mitigation policies
in the built environment (especially dwellings) and energy sector (medium confidence). {23.8.1} Low-carbon policies in the transport and energy
sectors to reduce emissions are associated with large benefits to human health (high confidence). {23.8.3}
1274
Chapter 23 Europe
23
23.1. Introduction
This chapter reviews the scientific evidence published since the IPCC
Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) on observed and projected impacts of
a
nthropogenic climate change in Europe and adaptation responses. The
geographical scope of this chapter is the same as in AR4 with the
inclusion of Turkey. Thus, the European region includes all countries from
Iceland in the west to the Russian Federation (west of the Urals) and
the Caspian Sea in the east, and from the northern shores of the
Mediterranean and Black Seas and the Caucasus in the south to the
Arctic Ocean in the north. Impacts above the Arctic Circle are addressed
in Chapter 28 and impacts in the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas in
Chapter 30. Impacts in Malta, Cyprus, and other island states in Europe
are discussed in Chapter 29. The European region has been divided into
five sub-regions (see Figure 23-1): Atlantic, Alpine, Southern, Northern,
and Continental. The sub-regions are derived by aggregating the climate
zones developed by Metzger et al. (2005) and therefore represent
geographical and ecological zones rather than political boundaries. The
scientific evidence has been evaluated to compare impacts across
(rather than within) sub-regions, although this was not always possible
depending on the scientific information available.
23.1.1. Scope and Route Map of Chapter
The chapter is structured around key policy areas. Sections 23.3 to 23.6
summarize the latest scientific evidence on sensitivity climate, observed
i
mpacts and attribution, projected impacts, and adaptation options, with
respect to four main categories of impacts:
Production systems and physical infrastructure
Agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and bioenergy production
Health protection and social welfare
Protection of environmental quality and biological conservation.
The benefit of assessing evidence in a regional chapter is that impacts
across sectors can be described, and interactions between impacts can
be identified. Further, the cross-sectoral decision making required to
address climate change can be reviewed. The chapter also includes
sections that were not in AR4. As adaptation and mitigation policy
develops, the evidence for potential co-benefits and unintended
consequences of such strategies is reviewed (Section 23.8). The final
section synthesizes the key findings with respect to: observed impacts
of climate change, key vulnerabilities, and research and knowledge gaps.
The chapter evaluates the scientific evidence in relation to the five sub-
regions highlighted above. The majority of the research in the Europe
region is for impacts in countries in the European Union due to targeted
research funding through the European Commission and national
governments, which means that countries in Eastern Europe and the
Russian Federation are less well represented in this chapter. Further,
regional assessments may be reported for the EU15, EU27, or EEA (32)
group of countries (Table SM23-1).
23.1.2. Policy Frameworks
Since AR4, there have been significant changes in Europe in responses
to climate change. More countries now have adaptation and mitigation
policies in place. An important force for climate policy development in the
region is the European Union (EU). EU member states have mitigation
targets, as well as the overall EU target, with both sectoral and regional
aspects to the commitments.
Adaptation policies and practices have been developed at international,
national, and local levels although research on implementation of such
policies is limited. Owing to the vast range of policies, strategies, and
measures it is not possible to describe them extensively here. However,
adaptation in relation to cross-sectoral decision making is discussed in
Section 23.7 (see also Box 23-3 on national adaptation policies). The
European Climate Adaptation Platform (Climate-ADAPT) catalogs
adaptation actions reported by EU Member States (EC, 2013a). The EU
Adaptation Strategy was adopted in 2013 (EC, 2013b). See Chapter 15
for a more extensive discussion of institutions and governance in
relation to adaptation planning and implementation.
23.1.3. Conclusions from Previous Assessments
AR4 documented a wide range of impacts of observed climate change
in Europe (WGII AR4 Chapter 12). The IPCC Special Report on Managing
the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change
Adaptation (SREX) confirmed increases in warm days and warm nights
and decreases in cold days and cold nights since 1950 (high confidence;
SREX Section 3.3.1). Extreme precipitation increased in part of the
Alpine Atlantic
Continental Northern
Southern
Figure 23-1 | Sub-regional classification of the IPCC Europe region. Based on
Metzger et al., 2005.
1275
Europe Chapter 23
23
c
ontinent, mainly in winter over Western-Central Europe and European
Russia (medium confidence; SREX Section 3.3.2). Dryness has increased
mainly in Southern Europe (medium confidence; SREX Section 3.3.2).
Climate change is expected to magnify regional differences within
Europe for agriculture and forestry because water stress was projected
to increase over Central and Southern Europe (WGII AR4 Section 12.4.1;
SREX Sections 3.3.2, 3.5.1). Many climate-related hazards were
projected to increase in frequency and intensity, but with significant
variations within the region (WGII AR4 Section12.4).
The AR4 identified that climate changes would pose challenges to many
economic sectors and was expected to alter the distribution of economic
activity within Europe (high confidence). Adaptation measures were
evolving from reactive disaster response to more proactive risk
management. A prominent example was the implementation of heat
health warning systems following the 2003 heat wave event (WGII AR4
Section 12.6.1; SREX Section 9.2.1). National adaptation plans were
developed and specific plans were incorporated in European and
national policies (WGII AR4 Sections 12.2.3, 12.5), but these were not
yet evaluated (WGII AR4 Section 12.8).
23.2. Current and Future Trends
23.2.1. Non-Climate Trends
European countries are diverse in both demographic and economic
trends. Population health and social welfare have improved everywhere
in Europe, with reductions in adult and child mortality rates, but social
inequalities both within and between countries persist (Marmot et al.,
2012). Population has increased in most EU27 countries, primarily as a
result of net immigration (Eurostat, 2011a), although population growth
is slow (total and working age population; Rees et al., 2012). Aging of
the population is a significant trend in Europe. This will have both
economic and social implications, with many regions experiencing a
decline in the labor force (Rees et al., 2012). Since AR4, economic
growth has slowed or become negative in many countries, leading to a
reduction in social protection measures and increased unemployment
(Eurostat, 2011b). The longer term implications of the financial crisis in
Europe are unclear, although it may lead to a modification of the economic
outlook and affect future social protection policies with implications for
adaptation.
Europe is one of the world’s largest and most productive suppliers of
food and fiber (Easterling et al., 2007). Agriculture is an important land
use across the European region; for example, it covers about 35% of
the total land area of western Europe (Rounsevell et al., 2006). After
1945, an unprecedented increase in agricultural productivity occurred,
but also declines in agricultural land use areas. This intensification had
several negative impacts on the ecological properties of agricultural
systems, such as carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, soil structure and
functioning, water purification, and pollination. Pollution from agriculture
has led to eutrophication and declines in water quality in some areas
(Langmead et al., 2007). Most scenario studies suggest that agricultural
land areas will continue to decrease in the future (see also Busch,
2006, for a discussion). Agriculture accounts for 24% of total national
freshwater abstraction in Europe and more than 80% in some Southern
E
uropean countries (EEA, 2009). Economic restructuring in some
Eastern European countries has led to a decrease in water abstraction
for irrigation, suggesting the potential for future increases in irrigated
agriculture and water use efficiency (EEA, 2009).
Forest in Europe covers approximately 34% of the land area (Eurostat,
2009). The majority of forests now grow faster than in the early 20th
century as a result of advances in forest management practices, genetic
improvement, and, in Central Europe, the cessation of site-degrading
practices such as litter collection for fuel. Increasing temperatures and
carbon dioxide (CO
2
) concentrations, nitrogen deposition, and the
reduction of air pollution (sulfur dioxide (SO
2
)) have also had a positive
effect on forest growth. Scenario studies suggest that forested areas will
increase in Europe in the future on land formerly used for agriculture
(Rounsevell et al., 2006). Soil degradation is already intense in parts of
the Mediterranean and Central-Eastern Europe and, together with
prolonged drought periods and fires, is already contributing to an
increased risk of desertification. Projected risks for future desertification
are the highest in these areas (EEA, 2012).
Urban development is projected to increase all over Europe (Reginster
and Rounsevell, 2006), but especially rapidly in Eastern Europe, with the
magnitude of these increases depending on population growth, economic
growth, and land use planning policy. Although changes in urban land
use will be relatively small in area terms, urban development has major
impacts locally on environmental quality. Outdoor air quality has,
however, been improving (Langmead et al., 2007). Peri-urbanization is
an increasing trend in which residents move out of cities to locations
with a rural character, but retain a functional link to cities by commuting
to work (Reginster and Rounsevell, 2006; Rounsevell and Reay, 2009).
Several European scenario studies have been undertaken to describe
European future trends with respect to socioeconomic development (de
Mooij and Tang, 2003), land use change (Verburg et al., 2010; Haines-
Young et al., 2012; Letourneau et al., 2012), land use and biodiversity
(Spangenberg et al., 2011), crop production (Hermans et al., 2010),
demographic change (Davoudi et al., 2010), economic development
(Dammers, 2010), and European policy (Lennert and Robert, 2010;
Helming et al., 2011). Many of these scenarios also account for the
effects of future climate change (see Rounsevell and Metzger, 2010,
for a review). Long-term projections (to the end of the century) are
described under the new Shared Socioeconomic Pathway scenarios
(SSPs) (Kriegler et al., 2010). Detailed country and regional scale
socioeconomic scenarios have also been produced for the Netherlands
(WLO, 2006), the UK (UK National Ecosystem Assessment, 2011), and
Scotland (Harrison et al., 2013). The probabilistic representation of
socioeconomic futures has also been developed for agricultural land
use change (Hardacre et al., 2013). There is little evidence to suggest,
however, that probabilistic futures or scenarios more generally are being
used in policy making (Bryson et al., 2010).
23.2.2. Observed and Projected Climate Change
23.2.2.1. Observed Climate Change
Theaverage temperature in Europe has continued to increase, with
regionally and seasonally different rates of warming being greatest
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Chapter 23 Europe
23
i
n high latitudes in Northern Europe (Chapter 28). Since the 1980s,
warming has been strongest over Scandinavia, especially in winter,
whereas the Iberian Peninsula warmed mostly in summer (EEA, 2012).
The decadal average temperature over land area for 2002–2011 is 1.3°
± 0.11°C above the 1850–1899 average, based on Hadley Centre/Climatic
Research Unit gridded surface temperature data set 3 (HadCRUT3; Brohan
et al., 2006), Merged Land-Ocean Surface Temperature (MLOST; Smith
et al., 2008), and Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) Temp (Hansen
et al., 2010). See WGI AR5 Section 2.4 for a discussion of data and
uncertainties and Chapter 21 for observed regional climate change.
Since 1950, high-temperature extremes (hot days, tropical nights, and
heat waves) have become more frequent, while low-temperature
extremes (cold spells, frost days) have become less frequent (WGI AR5
Section 2.6; SREX Chapter 3; EEA, 2012). The recent cold winters in
Northern and Atlantic Europe reflect the high natural variability in the
region (Peterson et al., 2012; see also WGI AR5 Section 2.7), and do not
contradict the general warming trend. In Eastern Europe, including the
European part of Russia, summer 2010 was exceptionally hot, with an
amplitude and spatial extent that exceeded the previous 2003 heat
wave (Barriopedro et al., 2011). Table 23-1 describes the impacts of
major extreme events in Europe in the last decade.
Since 1950, annual precipitation has increased in Northern Europe (up
to +70 mm per decade), and decreased in parts of Southern Europe (EEA,
2012, based on Haylock et al., 2008). Winter snow cover extent has a
high interannual variability and a nonsignificant negative trend over the
period 1967–2007 (Henderson and Leathers, 2010). Regional observed
changes in temperature and precipitation extremes are also described
in Table 3-2 of SREX and in Berg et al. (2013). Mean wind speeds have
declined over Europe over recent decades (Vautard et al., 2010) with
low confidence because of problematic anemometer data and climate
variability (SREX Section 3.3). Bett et al. (2013) did not find any trend
in windspeed using the Twentieth Century Reanalysis.
Europe is marked by increasing mean sea level with regional variations,
except in the northern Baltic Sea, where the relative sea level decreased
due to vertical crustal motion (Haigh et al., 2010; Menendez and Wood-
Worth, 2010; Albrecht et al., 2011; EEA, 2012). Extreme sea levels have
increased due to mean sea level rise (medium confidence; SREX Section
3.5; Haigh et al., 2010; Menendez and WoodWorth, 2010). Variability in
waves is related to internal climate variability rather than climate trends
(SREX Section 3.5; Charles et al., 2012).
23.2.2.2. Projected Climate Changes
Sub-regional information from global (see Chapter 21 supplementary
material; see also WGI AR5 Section 14.8.6, Annex I) and regional high-
resolution climate model output (Chapters 21, 23; see also WGI AR5
Section 14.8.6) provide more knowledge about the range of possible
future climates under the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES)
and Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) emission scenarios.
Within the recognized limitations of climate projections (Chapter 21;
WGI AR5 Chapter 9), new research on inter-model comparisons has
provided a more robust range of future climates to assess future impacts.
Since AR4, climate impact assessments are more likely to use a range
f
or the projected changes in temperature and rainfall. Access to
comprehensive and detailed sets of climate projections for decision
making exist in Europe (SREX Section 3.2.1; Mitchell et al., 2004; Fronzek
et al., 2012; Jacob et al., 2013).
Climate models show significant agreement for all emission scenarios in
warming (magnitude and rate) all over Europe, with strongest warming
projected in Southern Europe in summer, and in Northern Europe in winter
(Goodess et al., 2009; Kjellström et al., 2011). Even under an average
global temperature increase limited to 2°C compared to preindustrial
times, the climate of Europe is simulated to depart significantly in the
next decades from today’s climate (Van der Linden and Mitchell, 2009;
Jacob and Podzun, 2010).
Precipitation signals vary regionally and seasonally. Trends are less clear
in Continental Europe, with agreement in increase in Northern Europe
and decrease in Southern Europe (medium confidence; Kjellström et al.,
2011). Precipitation is projected to decrease in the summer months up
to southern Sweden and increase in winter (Schmidli et al., 2007), with
more rain than snow in mountainous regions (Steger et al., 2013). In
Northern Europe, a decrease of long-term mean snowpack (although
snow-rich winters will remain) toward the end of the 21st century
(Räisänen and Eklund, 2012) is projected. There is lack of information
about past and future changes in hail occurrence in Europe. Changes
in future circulation patterns (Ulbrich et al., 2009; Kreienkamp et al.,
2010) and mean wind speed trends are uncertain in sign (Kjellström et
al., 2011; McInnes et al., 2011).
Regional coupled simulations over the Mediterranean region provide a
more realistic characterization of impact parameters (e.g., snow cover,
aridity index, river discharge), which were not revealed by Coupled
Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP3) global simulations
(Dell’Aquila et al., 2012).
For 2081–2100 compared to 1986–2005, projected global mean sea
level rises (meters) are in the range 0.29 to 0.55 for RCP2.6, 0.36 to
0.63 for RCP4.5, 0.37 to 0.64 for RCP6.0, and 0.48 to 0.82 for RCP8.5
(medium confidence; WGIII AR5 Chapter 5). There is a low confidence
on projected regional changes (Slangen et al., 2012; WGI AR5 Section
13.6). Low-probability/high-impact estimates of extreme mean sea
level rise projections derived from the SRES A1FI scenario for the
Netherlands (Katsman et al., 2011) indicate that the mean sea level
could rise globally between 0.55 and 1.15 m, and locally (Netherlands)
by 0.40 to 1.05 m, by 2100. Extreme (very unlikely) scenarios for the
UK vary from 0.9 to 1.9 m by 2100 (Lowe et al., 2009).
23.2.2.3. Projected Changes in Climate Extremes
There will be a marked increase in extremes in Europe, in particular, in
heat waves, droughts, and heavy precipitation events (Beniston et al.,
2007; Lenderink and Van Meijgaard, 2008; see also Chapter 21
supplementary material). There is a general high confidence concerning
changes in temperature extremes (toward increased number of warm
days, warm nights, and heat waves; SREX Table 3-3). Figure 23-2c
shows projected changes in the mean number of heat waves in May to
September for 2071–2100 compared to 1971–2000 for RCP4.5 and
1277
Europe Chapter 23
23
Significant change
Robust change
Seasonal changes in heavy
precipitation in percent
(a) DJF seasonal changes in heavy precipitation (%), 2071–2100 compared to 1971–2000
(b) JJA seasonal changes in heavy precipitation (%), 2071–2100 compared to 1971–2000
RCP4.5 RCP8.5
RCP4.5
RCP8.5
Continue
d
next page
Continued
next
page
Figure 23-2 | (a) and (b): Projected seasonal changes in heavy precipitation defined as the 95th percentile of daily precipitation (only days with precipitation >1 mm day
–1
are
considered) for the period 2071–2100 compared to 1971–2000 (in %) in the months December to February (DJF) and June to August (JJA). (c) Projected changes in the mean
number of heat waves occurring in the months May to September for the period 2071–2100 compared to 1971–2000 (number per 30 years). Heat waves are defined as periods
of more than 5 consecutive days with daily maximum temperature exceeding the mean maximum temperature of the May to September season of the control period
(1971–2000) by at least 5°C. (d) Projected changes in the 95th percentile of the length of dry spells for the period 2071–2100 compared to 1971–2000 (in days). Dry spells are
defined as periods of at least 5 consecutive days with daily precipitation below 1 mm. Hatched areas indicate regions with robust (at least 66% of models agree in the sign of
change) and/or statistically significant change (significant on a 95% confidence level using Mann–Whitney U test). For the eastern parts of Black Sea, eastern Anatolia, and
southeast Anatolia (Turkey), no regional climate model projections are available. Changes represent the mean over 8 (RCP4.5, left side) and 9 (RCP8.5, right side) regional model
simulations compiled within the Coordinated Downscaling Experiment – European Domain (EURO-CORDEX) initiative. Adapted from Jacob et al., 2013.
–25
–15 –5
5
15
25 35 45
1278
Chapter 23 Europe
23
RCP4.5 RCP8.5
–1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Changes in mean number
of heat waves
–4 –2 –1 1 2 4 8 16 24 32
Changes in the 95th percentile of
the length of dry spells in days
(c) Changes in mean number of heat waves for MJJAS, 2071–2100 compared to 1971–2000
(d) Changes in the 95th percentile of the length of dry spells (days) 2071–2100 compared to 1971–2000
RCP4.5 RCP8.5
Significant change
Robust change
Significant change
Robust change
F
igure 23-2 (continued)
1279
Europe Chapter 23
23
R
CP8.5 with large differences depending on the emission scenario. The
increase in likelihood of some individual events due to anthropogenic
change has been quantified for the 2003 heat wave (Schär and
Jendritzky, 2004), the warm winter of 2006/2007, and warm spring of
2007 (Beniston, 2007).
Changes in extreme precipitation depend on the region, with a high
confidence of increased extreme precipitation in Northern Europe (all
seasons) and Continental Europe (except summer). Future projections
are regionally and seasonally different in Southern Europe (SREX Table
3-3). Figure 23-2a,b shows projected seasonal changes of heavy
precipitation events for 2071–2100 compared to 1971–2000 for RCP4.5
and RCP8.5.
Projected changes of spatially averaged indices over the European sub-
regions are described in the supplemental information (Tables SM23-2
and SM23-3 for sub-regions, and Table SM23-4 for three Alpine areas).
In winter, small increases in extreme wind speed are projected for
Central and Northern Europe (medium confidence; Section 21.3.3.1.6;
SREX Figure 3-8; Beniston et al., 2007; Rockel and Woth, 2007; Haugen
and Iversen, 2008; Rauthe et al., 2010; Schwierz et al., 2010), connected
to changes in storm tracks (medium confidence; Pinto et al., 2007a,b,
2010; Donat et al., 2010). Other parts of Europe and seasons are less
clear in sign with a small decreasing trend in Southern Europe (low
confidence; Donat et al., 2011; McInnes et al., 2011).
Extreme sea level events will increase (high confidence; WGI AR5 Section
13.7; SREX Section 3.5.3), mainly dominated by the global mean sea
level increase. Storm surges are expected to vary along the European
coasts. Significant increases are projected in the eastern North Sea
(increase of 6 to 8% of the 99th percentile of the storm surge residual,
2071–2100 compared to 1961–1990, based on the B2, A1B, and A2
SRES scenarios; Debernard and Rÿed, 2008) and west of UK and Ireland
(Debernard and Rÿed, 2008; Wang et al., 2008), except south of Ireland
(Wang et al., 2008). There is a medium agreement for the south of North
Sea and Dutch coast where trends vary from increasing (Debernard and
Rÿed, 2008) to stable (Sterl et al., 2009). There is a low agreement on
the trends in storm surge in the Adriatic Sea (Planton et al., 2006; Jordà
et al., 2012; Lionello et al., 2012; Troccoli et al., 2012b).
23.2.3. Observed and Projected Trends
in Riverflow and Drought
Streamflows have decreased in the south and east of Europe and
increased in Northern Europe (Stahl et al., 2010; Wilson et al., 2010; see
also Section 3.2.3). In general, few changes in flood trends can be
attributed to climate change, partly owing to the lack of sufficiently long
records (Kundzewicz et al., 2013). European mean and peak discharges
are highly variable (Bouwer et al., 2008); for instance, in France, upward
trends in low flows were observed over 1948–1988 and downward
trends over 1968–2008 (Giuntoli et al., 2013). Alpine glacier retreat
during the last 2 decades caused a 13% increase in glacier contribution
to August runoff of the four main rivers originating in the Alps, compared
to the long-term average (Huss, 2011). Increases in extreme river
discharge (peak flows) over the past 30 to 50 years have been observed
i
n parts of Germany (Petrow et al., 2007, 2009), the Meuse River basin
(Tu et al., 2005), parts of Central Europe (Villarini et al., 2011), Russia
(Semenov, 2011), and northeastern France (Renard et al., 2008).
Decreases in extreme river discharge have been observed in the Czech
Republic (Yiou et al., 2006), and no change observed in Switzerland
(Schmocker-Fackel and Naef, 2010), Germany (Bormann et al., 2011),
and the Nordic countries (Wilson et al., 2010). River regulation possibly
partly masks increasing peak flows in the Rhine (Vorogushyn et al.,
2012). One study (Pall et al., 2011) suggested that the UK 2000 flood
was partly due to anthropogenic forcing, although another showed a
weaker effect (Kay et al., 2011).
Climate change is projected to affect the hydrology of river basins
(Chapter 4; SREX Chapter 3). The occurrence of current 100-year return
period discharges is projected to increase in Continental Europe, but
decrease in some parts of Northern and Southern Europe by 2100 (Dankers
and Feyen, 2008; Rojas et al., 2012). In contrast, studies for individual
catchments indicate increases in extreme discharges, to varying degrees,
in Finland (Veijalainen et al., 2010), Denmark (Thodsen, 2007), Ireland
(Wang et al., 2006; Steele-Dunne et al., 2008; Bastola et al., 2011), the
Rhine basin (Görgen et al., 2010; te Linde et al., 2010a), Meuse basin
(Leander et al., 2008; Ward et al., 2011), the Danube basin (Dankers et
al., 2007), and France (Quintana-Segui et al., 2011; Chauveau et al.,
2013). Although snowmelt floods may decrease, increased autumn and
winter rainfall could lead to higher peak discharges in Northern Europe
(Lawrence and Hisdal, 2011). Declines in low flows are projected for the
UK (Christierson et al., 2012), Turkey (Fujihara et al., 2008), France
(Chauveau et al., 2013), and rivers fed by Alpine glaciers (Huss, 2011).
The analysis of trends in droughts is made complex by the different
categories or definitions of drought (meteorological, agricultural, and
hydrological) and the lack of long-term observational data (SREX Box
3-3). Southern Europe shows trends toward more intense and longer
meteorological droughts, but they are still inconsistent (Sousa et al., 2011).
Drought trends in all other sub-regions are not statistically significant
(SREX Section 3.5.1). Regional and global climate simulations project
(medium confidence) an increase in duration and intensity of droughts in
Central and Southern Europe and the Mediterranean up until the