Saturday, May 5, 2012

European climate change to hit Mediterranean, Scandinavia hardest

Times of Global warming in Europe this century will mostly affect Scandinavia and the Mediterranean basin, the European Environment Agency warned today.

"The highest warming is projected over the eastern Scandinavia, and southern and south-eastern Europe," experts at the agency said in comment accompanying a series of maps posted on the agency's website.
Europe will be on average 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer between 2021 and 2050 than the 1960-1990 reference period, the agency said.

Interestingly, there are great differences between summer and winter – the maps show the winters will see the greatest change in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, while the biggest temperature increases in the summer will be around the Mediterranean. It will also be drier in the Med.

While a few degrees increase may not seem significant, it is important to note that these are average annual temperatures, potentially masking large extremes. For example, during the period 2021 – 2050 summer in some parts of the Mediterranean is expected to be up to 2.5° C warmer than 1961-1990. Higher temperatures lead to an increase in number of heat waves and droughts, which have great impact on water supply, agriculture production and human health.

Higher temperatures and dwindling rainfall "will have significant effects on agriculture and tourism industries, especially in the Mediterranean area," the agency said.

"Agriculture is extremely water-intensive in some Mediterranean countries, accounting for up to 80 percent of water use," it noted....

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