Thinking about a Mediterranean vacation? Might want to go sooner rather than later.
The above map shows how the “tourism climate index” — a calculation of how amenable the climate in a location is to outdoor activity — will be affected by climate change during the summer in Europe. Blue areas will see climatic improvements; yellow, moderately worse climate; brown, significantly worse climate. So if you want to visit, say, Italy or Spain — book your flight.
Earlier today, the European Environment Agency walked into the room and, plunk, dropped a 300-page report on the anticipated effects of climate change on the continent. Three hundred pages, chock-a-block with maps far more terrifying than that one up there. It’s a road map on minute details of what Europe can expect on temperature, flooding, forest fires, soil quality, sea animals. It’s the Grays Sports Almanac of the continent through the year 2100.
Here are some of the more alarming maps and graphs, because terror is a dish best shared. (A blanket note: All images from the full report [PDF]; on most, click to embiggen.)
We’ll start with the big one. Temperatures in Europe have increased across-the-board over the last 50 years.
As the report notes: “The five warmest summers in Europe in the last 500 years all occurred in the recent decade (2002–2011).”
Here, the number of summers in the 95th percentile of temperatures over the last 500 years, by decade.
That’s summers past. In the future: more of the same.
Over the past 50 years, warmer areas have gotten drier while colder areas have gotten wetter.
In the future, that trend will be exacerbated. During the summer, precipitation will drop almost everywhere, with the exception of the far north.
The same holds true for the winter: Snowfall will also drop.
As you undoubtedly know, sea levels have risen around the world.
The effect in Europe has been distributed — sea levels have been dropping somewhat around Finland and Sweden, but going up dramatically near Denmark and, in a bit of very bad news, the low-lying Netherlands.
That sea-level rise is one component of a massive projected increase in “100 year floods” in certain parts of Europe. Note the 2080 projection in the U.K., below.
Drier conditions mean more fires. Across the continent, there has been an increased danger of wildfire.
By the end of the century, that danger will have increased dramatically for parts of the continent, and increased everywhere to at least some extent.
Again, drier conditions mean more need for irrigation — but also less availability of water with which to irrigate.
And, as a result, drier regions will see significant drop-offs in food production.
Even in more moderate climates, production will drop.
Impact on population
No one in Europe will be spared some environmental impact; nearly everyone will see an economic effect as well.
- Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2012, European Environment Agency