Study predicts major shifts in European climate during next century

Europe’s mountain and Mediterranean regions will be dramatically altered by 21st century climate change, and suffice to say they will not improve as vacation destinations. In a new study in the journal Science, researchers modeled the impacts of a heating planet — and human responses to it — on soil conditions, forest cover, and overall land use in 16 European nations. They forecast drought in the Mediterranean region leading to more forest fires, water shortages, and lost farmland. In the mountains, snow cover will retreat, rain will largely replace snowfall, and river runoff patterns will change, likely bringing more winter and spring flooding and summer water shortages. Europe will remain livable overall: With less agriculture, forests may expand and northern farmers might be able to grow crops once limited to the Mediterranean. “If you live in Europe you are a lucky toad,” said lead researcher Dagmar Schroeter, “but maybe not as lucky as I would have thought before doing this assessment.”