Info

Water Freedom System

Survive Global Water Shortages

Get Instant Access

2020s Increase in annual runoff in northern Europe by up to 15% and decrease in the south by up to 23%.a Decrease in summer flow.b

Increasing risk of winter flood in northern Europe, of flash flooding across all of Europe. Risk of snowmelt flood shifts from spring to winter.c

2020s Increase in annual runoff in northern Europe by up to 15% and decrease in the south by up to 23%.a Decrease in summer flow.b

2050s Decrease in annual runoff by 20-30% in southeastern Europe.d

2070s Increase in annual runoff in the north by up to 30% and decrease by up to 36% in the south.a Decrease in summer low flow by up to 80%.db Decreasing drought risk in northern Europe, increasing drought risk in western and southern Europe. Today's 100-year droughts return every 50 years (or less) in southern and south-eastern Europe (Portugal, all Mediterranean countries, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine, southern Russia).0

Increasing risk of winter flood in northern Europe, of flash flooding across all of Europe. Risk of snowmelt flood shifts from spring to winter.c

Today's 100-year floods occur more frequently in northern and north-eastern Europe (Sweden, Finland, northern Russia), in Ireland, in central and eastern Europe (Poland, Alpine rivers), in Atlantic parts of southern Europe (Spain, Portugal), and less frequently in large parts of southern Europe.0

a Alcamo et al., 2007; d Arnell, 2004

Increasing drought risk for western Europe (e.g., Great Britain; Fowler and Kilsby, 2004) is primarily caused by climate change; for southern and eastern Europe increasing risk from climate change would be amplified by an increase in water withdrawals (Lehner et al., 2006). The regions most prone to an increase in drought risk are the Mediterranean (Portugal, Spain) and some parts of central and eastern Europe, where the highest increase in irrigation water demand is projected (Döll, 2002; Donevska and Dodeva, 2004). Irrigation requirements are likely to become substantial in countries (e.g., Ireland) where demand now hardly exists (Holden et al., 2003). It is likely that, due to both climate change and increasing water withdrawals, the river-basin area affected by severe water stress (withdrawal : availability >0.40) will increase and lead to increasing competition for available water resources (Alcamo et al., 2003; Schröter et al., 2005). Under the IS92a scenario, the percentage of river basin area in the severe water stress category increases from 19% today to 34-36% by the 2070s (Lehner et al., 2001). The number of additional people living in water-stressed watersheds in the EU15 plus Switzerland and Norway is likely to increase to between 16 million and 44 million, based on climate projected by the HadCM3 GCM under the A2 and B1 emissions scenarios, respectively (Schröter et al., 2005).

12.4.2 Coastal and marine systems

Climate variability associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) determines many physical coastal processes in Europe (Hurrell et al., 2003, 2004), including variations in the seasonality of coastal climates, winter wind speeds and patterns of storminess and coastal flooding in north-west Europe (Lozano et al., 2004; Stone and Orford, 2004; Yan et al., 2004). For Europe's Atlantic coasts and shelf seas, the NAO also has a strong influence on the dynamic sea-surface height and geographic distribution of sea-level rise (Woolf et al., 2003), as well as some relation to coastal flooding and water levels in the Caspian Sea (Lal et al., 2001). Most SRES-based climate scenarios show a continuation of the recent positive phase of the NAO for the first decades of the 21st century with significant impacts on coastal areas (Cubasch et al., 2001; Hurrell et al., 2003).

Wind-driven waves and storms are seen as the primary drivers of short-term coastal processes on many European coasts (Smith et al., 2000). Climate simulations using the IS92a and A2 and B2 SRES scenarios (Meier et al., 2004; Räisänen et al., 2004) reinforce existing trends in storminess. These indicate some further increase in wind speeds and storm intensity in the north-eastern Atlantic during at least the early part of the 21st century (2010 to 2030), with a shift of storm centre maxima closer to European coasts (Knippertz et al., 2000; Leckebusch and Ulbrich, 2004; Lozano et al., 2004). These experiments also show a decline in storminess and wind intensity eastwards into the Mediterranean (Busuioc, 2001; Tomozeiu et al., 2007), but with localised increased storminess in parts of the Adriatic, Aegean and Black Seas (Guedes Soares et al., 2002).

Ensemble modelling of storm surges and tidal levels in shelf seas, particularly for the Baltic and southern North Sea, indicate fewer but more extreme surge events under some SRES emissions scenarios (Hulme et al., 2002; Meier et al., 2004;

Lowe and Gregory, 2005). In addition, wave simulations show higher significant wave heights of >0.4m in the north-eastern Atlantic by the 2080s (Woolf et al., 2002; Tsimplis et al., 2004a; Wolf and Woolf, 2006). Higher wave and storm-surge elevations will be particularly significant because they will cause erosion and flooding in estuaries, deltas and embayments (Flather and Williams, 2000; Lionello et al., 2002; Tsimplis et al., 2004b; Woth et al., 2005; Meier et al., 2007).

Model projections of the IPCC SRES scenarios give a global mean sea-level rise of 0.09 to 0.88 m by 2100, with sea level rising at rates circa 2 to 4 times faster than those of the present day (EEA, 2004b; Meehl et al., 2007). In Europe, regional influences may result in sea-level rise being up to 50% higher than these global estimates (Woodworth et al., 2005). The impact of the NAO on winter sea levels provides an additional uncertainty of 0.1 to 0.2 m to these estimates (Hulme et al., 2002; Tsimplis et al., 2004a). Furthermore, the sustained melting of Greenland ice and other ice stores under climate warming, coupled with the impacts of a possible abrupt shut-down of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC) after 2100, provide additional uncertainty to sea-level rise for Europe (Gregory et al., 2004; Levermann et al., 2005; Wigley, 2005; Meehl et al., 2007).

Sea-level rise can have a wide variety of impacts on Europe's coastal areas; causing flooding, land loss, the salinisation of groundwater and the destruction of built property and infrastructures (Devoy, 2007; Nicholls and de la Vega-Leinert, 2007). Over large areas of formerly glaciated coastlines the continued decline in isostatic land uplift is bringing many areas within the range of sea-level rise (Smith et al., 2000). For the Baltic and Arctic coasts, sea-level rise projections under some SRES scenarios indicate an increased risk of flooding and coastal erosion after 2050 (Johansson et al., 2004; Meier et al., 2004,2006; Kont et al., 2007). In areas of coastal subsidence or high tectonic activity, as in the low tidal range Mediterranean and Black Sea regions, climate-related sea-level rise could significantly increase potential damage from storm surges and tsunamis (Gregory et al., 2001). Sea-level rise will also cause an inland migration of Europe's beaches and low-lying, soft sedimentary coasts (Sánchez-Arcilla et al., 2000; Stone and Orford, 2004; Hall et al., 2007). Coastal retreat rates are currently 0.5 to 1.0 m/yr for parts of the Atlantic coast most affected by storms and under sea-level rise these rates are expected to increase (Cooper and Pilkey, 2004; Lozano et al., 2004).

The vulnerability of marine and nearshore waters and of many coasts is very dependent on local factors (Smith et al., 2000; EEA, 2004b; Swift et al., 2007). Low-lying coastlines with high population densities and small tidal ranges will be most vulnerable to sea-level rise (Kundzewicz et al., 2001). Coastal flooding related to sea-level rise could affect large populations (Arnell et al., 2004). Under the SRES A1FI scenario up to an additional 1.6 million people each year in the Mediterranean, northern and western Europe, might experience coastal flooding by 2080 (Nicholls, 2004). Approximately 20% of existing coastal wetlands may disappear by 2080 under SRES scenarios for sea-level rise (Nicholls, 2004; Devoy, 2007).

2 Nival flora: growing in or under snow.

Impacts of climate warming upon coastal and marine ecosystems are also likely to intensify the problems of eutrophication and stress on these biological systems (EEA, 2004b; Robinson et al., 2005; SEPA, 2005; SEEG, 2006).

12.4.3 Mountains and sub-Arctic regions

The duration of snow cover is expected to decrease by several weeks for each °C of temperature increase in the Alps region at middle elevations (Hantel et al., 2000; Wielke et al., 2004; Martin and Etchevers, 2005). An upward shift of the glacier equilibrium line is expected from 60 to 140 m/°C (Maisch, 2000; Vincent, 2002; Oerlemans, 2003). Glaciers will experience a substantial retreat during the 21st century (Haeberli and Burn, 2002). Small glaciers will disappear, while larger glaciers will suffer a volume reduction between 30% and 70% by 2050 (Schneeberger et al., 2003; Paul et al., 2004). During the retreat of glaciers, spring and summer discharge will decrease (Hagg and Braun, 2004). The lower elevation of permafrost is likely to rise by several hundred metres. Rising temperatures and melting permafrost will destabilise mountain walls and increase the frequency of rock falls, threatening mountain valleys (Gruber et al., 2004). In northern Europe, lowland permafrost will eventually disappear (Haeberli and Burns, 2002). Changes in snowpack and glacial extent may also alter the likelihood of snow and ice avalanches, depending on the complex interaction of surface geometry, precipitation and temperature (Martin et al., 2001; Haeberli and Burns, 2002).

It is virtually certain that European mountain flora will undergo major changes due to climate change (Theurillat and Guisan, 2001; Walther, 2004). Change in snow-cover duration and growing season length should have much more pronounced effects than direct effects of temperature changes on metabolism (Grace et al., 2002; Körner, 2003). Overall trends are towards increased growing season, earlier phenology and shifts of species distributions towards higher elevations (Kullman 2002; Körner, 2003; Egli et al., 2004; Sandvik et al., 2004; Walther, 2004). Similar shifts in elevation are also documented for animal species (Hughes, 2000). The treeline is predicted to shift upward by several hundred metres (Badeck et al., 2001). There is evidence that this process has already begun in Scandinavia (Kullman, 2002), the Ural Mountains (Shiyatov et al., 2005), West Carpathians (Mindas et al., 2000) and the Mediterranean (Peñuelas and Boada, 2003; Camarero and Gutiérrez, 2004). These changes, together with the effect of abandonment of traditional alpine pastures, will restrict the alpine zone to higher elevations (Guisan and Theurillat, 2001; Grace et al., 2002; Dirnböck et al., 2003; Dullinger et al., 2004), severely threatening nival flora2 (Gottfried et al., 2002). The composition and structure of alpine and nival communities are very likely to change (Guisan and Theurillat, 2000; Walther, 2004). Local plant species losses of up to 62% are projected for Mediterranean and Lusitanian mountains by the 2080s under the A1 scenario (Thuiller et al., 2005). Mountain regions may additionally experience a loss of endemism due to invasive species (Viner et al., 2006). Similar extreme impacts are expected for habitat and animal diversity as well, making mountain ecosystems among the most threatened in Europe (Schröter et al., 2005).

12.4.4 Forests, shrublands and grasslands

12.4.4.1 Forests

Forest ecosystems in Europe are very likely to be strongly influenced by climate change and other global changes (Shaver et al., 2000; Blennow and Sallnäs, 2002; Askeev et al., 2005; Kellomäki and Leinonen, 2005; Maracchi et al., 2005). Forest area is expected to expand in the north (Kljuev, 2001; MNRRF, 2003; Shiyatov et al., 2005), decreasing the current tundra area by 2100 (White et al., 2000), but contract in the south (Metzger et al., 2004). Native conifers are likely to be replaced by deciduous trees in western and central Europe (Maracchi et al., 2005; Koca et al., 2006). The distribution of a number of typical tree species is likely to decrease in the Mediterranean (Schröter et al., 2005). Tree vulnerability will increase as populations/plantations are managed to grow outside their natural range (Ray et al., 2002; Redfern and Hendry, 2002; Fernando and Cortina, 2004).

In northern Europe, climate change will alter phenology (Badeck et al., 2004) and substantially increase net primary productivity (NPP) and biomass of forests (Jarvis and Linder, 2000; Rustad et al., 2001; Strömgren and Linder, 2002; Zheng et al., 2002; Freeman et al., 2005; Kelomäki et al., 2005; Boisvenue and Running, 2006). In the boreal forest, soil CO2 fluxes to the atmosphere increase with increased temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration (Niinisto et al., 2004), although many uncertainties remain (Fang and Moncrieff, 2001; Agren and Bosatta, 2002; Hyvönen et al., 2005). Climate change may induce a reallocation of carbon to foliage (Magnani et al., 2004; Lapenis et al., 2005) and lead to carbon losses (White et al., 2000; Kostiainen et al., 2006; Schaphoff et al., 2006). Climate change may alter the chemical composition and density of wood while impacts on wood anatomy remain uncertain (Roderick and Berry, 2001; Wilhelmsson et al., 2002; Kostiainen et al., 2006).

In the northern and maritime temperate zones of Europe, and at higher elevations in the Alps, NPP is likely to increase throughout the century. However, by the end of the century (2071 to 2100) in continental central and southern Europe, NPP of conifers is likely to decrease due to water limitations (Lasch et al., 2002; Lexer et al., 2002; Martinez-Vilalta and Pinol, 2002; Freeman et al., 2005; Körner et al., 2005) and higher temperatures (Pretzch and Dursky, 2002). Negative impacts of drought on deciduous forests are also likely (Broadmeadow et al., 2005). Water stress in the south may be partially compensated by increased water-use efficiency (Magnani et al., 2004), elevated CO2 (Wittig et al., 2005) and increased leaf area index (Kull et al., 2005), although this is currently under debate (Medlyn et al., 2001; Ciais et al., 2004).

Abiotic hazards for forest are likely to increase, although expected impacts are regionally specific and will be substantially dependent on the forest management system used (Kellomäki and Leinonen, 2005). A substantial increase in wind damage is not predicted (Barthod, 2003; Nilsson et al., 2004; Schumacher and Bugmann, 2006). In northern Europe, snow cover will decrease, and soil frost-free periods and winter rainfall increase, leading to increased soil waterlogging and winter floods (Nisbet, 2002; KSLA, 2004). Warming will prevent chilling requirements from being met3, reduce cold-hardiness during autumn and spring, and increase needle loss (Redfern and Hendry, 2002). Frost damage is expected to be reduced in winter, unchanged in spring and more severe in autumn due to later hardening (Linkosalo et al., 2000; Barklund, 2002; Redfern and Hendry, 2002), although this may vary among regions and species (Jönsson et al., 2004). The risk of frost damage to trees may even increase after possible dehardening and growth onset during mild spells in winter and early spring (Hänninen, 2006). Fire danger, length of the fire season, and fire frequency and severity are very likely to increase in the Mediterranean (Santos et al., 2002; Pausas, 2004; Moreno, 2005; Pereira et al., 2005; Moriondo et al., 2006), and lead to increased dominance of shrubs over trees (Mouillot et al., 2002). Albeit less, fire danger is likely to also increase in central, eastern and northern Europe (Goldammer et al., 2005; Kellomäki et al., 2005; Moriondo et al., 2006). This, however, does not translate directly into increased fire occurrence or changes in vegetation (Thonicke and Cramer, 2006). In the forest-tundra ecotone, increased frequency of fire and other anthropogenic impacts is likely to lead to a long-term (over several hundred years) replacement of forest by low productivity grassy glades or wetlands over large areas (Sapozhnikov, 2003). The range of important forest insect pests may expand northward (Battisti, 2004), but the net impact of climate and atmospheric change is complex (Bale et al., 2002; Zvereva and Kozlov, 2006).

12.4.4.2 Shrublands

The area of European shrublands has increased over recent decades, particularly in the south (Moreiraetal.,2001; Mouillot et al., 2003; Alados et al., 2004). Climate change is likely to affect its key ecosystem functions such as carbon storage, nutrient cycling, and species composition (Wessel et al., 2004). The response to warming and drought will depend on the current conditions, with cold, moist sites being more responsive to temperature changes, and warm, dry sites being more responsive to changes in rainfall (Penuelas et al., 2004). In northern Europe, warming will increase microbial activity (Sowerby et al., 2005), growth and productivity (Penuelas et al., 2004), hence enabling higher grazing intensities (Wessel et al., 2004). Encroachment by grasses (Werkman and Callaghan, 2002) and elevated nitrogen leaching (Emmet et al., 2004; Gorissen et al., 2004; Schmidt et al., 2004) are also likely. In southern Europe, warming and, particularly, increased drought, are likely to lead to reduced plant growth and primary productivity (Ogaya et al., 2003; Llorens et al., 2004), reduced nutrient turnover and nutrient availability (Sardans and Penuelas 2004,2005), altered plant recruitment (Lloret et al., 2004; Quintana et al., 2004), changed phenology (Llorens and Penuelas, 2005), and changed species interactions (Maestre and Cortina, 2004; Lloret et al.,

3 Many plants, and most deciduous fruit trees, need a period of cold temperatures (the chilling requirement) during the winter in order for the flower buds to open in the spring.

2005). Shrubland fires are likely to increase due to their higher propensity to burn (Vázquez and Moreno, 2001; Mouillot et al., 2005; Nunes et al., 2005; Salvador et al., 2005). Furthermore, increased torrentiality (Giorgi et al., 2004) is likely to lead to increased erosion risk (de Luis et al., 2003) due to reduced plant regeneration after frequent fires (Delitti et al., 2005).

12.4.43 Grasslands

Permanent pastures occupied 37% of the agricultural area in Europe in 2000 (FAOSTAT, 2005). Grasslands are expected to decrease in area by the end of this century, the magnitude varying depending on the emissions scenario (Rounsevell et al.,

2006). Climate change is likely to alter the community structure of grasslands in ways specific to their location and type (Buckland et al., 2001; Lüscher et al., 2004; Morecroft et al., 2004). Management and species richness may increase resilience to change (Duckworth et al., 2000). Fertile, early succession grasslands were found to be more responsive to climate change than more mature and/or less fertile grasslands (Grime et al., 2000). In general, intensively-managed and nutrient-rich grasslands will respond positively to both increased CO2 concentration and temperature, given that water and nutrient supply is sufficient (Lüscher et al., 2004). Nitrogen-poor and species-rich grasslands may respond to climate change with small changes in productivity in the short-term (Winkler and Herbst, 2004). Overall, productivity of temperate European grassland is expected to increase (Byrne and Jones, 2002; Kammann et al., 2005). Nevertheless, warming alone is likely to have negative effects on productivity and species mixtures (Gielen et al., 2005; de Boeck et al., 2006). In the Mediterranean, changes in precipitation patterns are likely to negatively affect productivity and species composition of grasslands (Valladares et al., 2005).

12.4.5 Wetlands and aquatic ecosystems

Climate change may significantly impact northern peatlands (Vasiliev et al., 2001). The common hypothesis is that elevated temperature will increase productivity of wetlands (Dorrepaal et al., 2004) and intensify peat decomposition, which will accelerate carbon and nitrogen emissions to the atmosphere (Vasiliev et al., 2001; Weltzin et al., 2003). However, there are opposing results, reporting decreasing radiative forcing for drained peatlands in Finland (Minkkinen et al., 2002). Loss of permafrost in the Arctic (ACIA, 2004) will likely cause a reduction of some types of wetlands in the current permafrost zone (Ivanov and Maximov, 2003). During dry years, catastrophic fires are expected on drained peatlands in European Russia (Zeidelman and Shvarov, 2002; Bannikov et al., 2003). Processes of paludification4 are likely to accelerate in northern regions with increasing precipitation (Lavoie et al., 2005).

Throughout Europe, in lakes and rivers that freeze in the winter, warmer temperatures may result in earlier ice melt and longer growing seasons. A consequence of these changes could be a higher risk of algal blooms and increased growth of toxic cyanobacteria in lakes (Moss et al., 2003; Straile et al., 2003; Briers et al., 2004; Eisenreich, 2005). Higher precipitation and reduced frost may enhance nutrient loss from cultivated fields (Eisenreich, 2005). These factors may result in higher nutrient loadings (Bouraoui et al., 2004; Kaste et al., 2004; Eisenreich,

2005) and concentrations of dissolved organic matter in inland waters (Evans and Monteith, 2001; ACIA, 2004; Worrall et al.,

2006). Higher nutrient loadings may intensify the eutrophication of lakes and wetlands (Jeppesen et al., 2003). Streams in catchments with impermeable soils may have increased runoff in winter and deposition of organic matter in summer, which could reduce invertebrate diversity (Pedersen et al., 2004).

Inland waters in southern Europe are likely to have lower volume and increased salinisation (Williams, 2001; Zalidis et al., 2002). Many ephemeral ecosystems may disappear, and permanent ones shrink (Alvarez Cobelas et al., 2005). Although an overall drier climate may decrease the external loading of nutrients to inland waters, the concentration of nutrients may increase because of the lower volume of inland waters (Zalidis et al., 2002). Also an increased frequency of high rainfall events could increase nutrient discharge to some wetlands (Sánchez Carrillo and Alvarez Cobelas, 2001).

Warming will affect the physical properties of inland waters (Eisenreich, 2005; Livingstone et al., 2005). The thermocline of summer-stratified lakes will descend, while the bottom-water temperature and duration of stratification will increase, leading to higher risk of oxygen depletion below the thermocline (Catalán et al., 2002; Straile et al., 2003; Blenckner, 2005). Higher temperatures will also reduce dissolved oxygen saturation levels and increase the risk of oxygen depletion (Sand-Jensen and Pedersen, 2005).

12.4.6 Biodiversity

Climate change is affecting the physiology, phenology and distribution of European plant and animal species (e.g., Thomas et al., 2001; Warren et al., 2001; van Herk et al., 2002; Walther et al., 2002; Parmesan and Yohe, 2003; Root et al., 2003, 2005; Brommer, 2004; Austin and Rehfisch, 2005; Hickling et al., 2005, 2006; Robinson et al., 2005; Learmonth et al., 2006; Menzel et al., 2006a, b). A Europe-wide assessment of the future distribution of 1,350 plant species (nearly 10% of the European flora) under various SRES scenarios indicated that more than half of the modelled species could become vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered or committed to extinction by 2080 if unable to disperse (Thuiller et al., 2005). Under the most severe climate scenario (A1), and assuming that species could adapt through dispersal, 22% of the species considered would become critically endangered, and 2% committed to extinction. Qualitatively-similar results were obtained by Bakkenes et al. (2002). According to these analyses, the range of plants is very likely to expand northward and contract in southern European mountains and in the Mediterranean Basin. Regional studies (e.g., Theurillat and Guisan, 2001; Walther et al., 2005b) are consistent with Europe-wide projections.

4 Peat bog formation.

An assessment of European fauna indicated that the majority of amphibian (45% to 69%) and reptile (61% to 89%) species could expand their range under various SRES scenarios if dispersal was unlimited (Araújo et al., 2006). However, if unable to disperse, then the range of most species (>97%) would become smaller, especially in the Iberian Peninsula and France. Species in the UK, south-eastern Europe and southern Scandinavia are projected to benefit from a more suitable climate, although dispersal limitations may prevent them from occupying new suitable areas (Figure 12.2). Consistent with these results, another Europe-wide study of 47 species of plants, insects, birds and mammals found that species would generally shift from the south-west to the north-east (Berry et al., 2006; Harrison et al., 2006). Endemic plants and vertebrates in the Mediterranean Basin are also particularly vulnerable to climate change (Malcolm et al., 2006). Habitat fragmentation is also likely to increase because of both climate and land-use changes (del Barrio et al., 2006).

Currently, species richness in inland freshwater systems is highest in central Europe declining towards the south and north because of periodic droughts and salinisation (Declerck et al., 2005). Increased projected runoff and lower risk of drought in the north will benefit the fauna of these systems (Lake, 2000; Daufresne et al., 2003), but increased drought in the south will have the opposite effect (Alvarez Cobelas et al., 2005). Higher temperatures are likely to lead to increased species richness in freshwater ecosystems in northern Europe and decreases in parts of south-western Europe (Gutiérrez Teira, 2003). Invasive species may increase in the north (McKee et al., 2002). Woody plants may encroach upon bogs and fens (Weltzin et al., 2003). Cold-adapted species will be forced further north and upstream; some may eventually disappear from Europe (Daufresne et al., 2003; Eisenreich, 2005).

Sea-level rise is likely to have major impacts on biodiversity. Examples include flooding of haul-out sites used for breeding nurseries and resting by seals (Harwood, 2001). Increased sea temperatures may also trigger large scale disease-related mortality events of dolphins in the Mediterranean and of seals in Europe (Geraci and Lounsbury, 2002). Seals that rely on ice for breeding are also likely to suffer considerable habitat loss (Harwood, 2001). Sea-level rise will reduce habitat availability for bird species that nest or forage in low-lying coastal areas. This is particularly important for the populations of shorebirds that breed in the Arctic and then winter on European coasts (Rehfisch and Crick, 2003). Lowered water tables and increased anthropogenic use and abstraction of water from inland wetlands are likely to cause serious problems for the populations of migratory birds and bats that use these areas while on migration within Europe and between Europe and Africa (Robinson et al., 2005).

12.4.7 Agriculture and fisheries

12.4.7.1 Crops and livestock

The effects of climate change and increased atmospheric CO2 are expected to lead to overall small increases in European crop productivity. However, technological development (e.g., new

Figure 12.2. Change in combined amphibian and reptile species richness under climate change (A1FI emissions; HadCM3 GCM), assuming unlimited dispersal. Depicted is the change between current and future species richness projected for two 30-year periods (2021 to 2050 and 2051 to 2080), using artificial neural networks. Increasing intensities of purple indicate a decrease in species richness, whereas increasing intensities of green represent an increase in species richness. Black, white and grey cells indicate areas with stable species richness: black grid cells show low species richness in both periods; white cells show high species richness; grey cells show intermediate species richness (AraOjo et al., 2006).

Figure 12.2. Change in combined amphibian and reptile species richness under climate change (A1FI emissions; HadCM3 GCM), assuming unlimited dispersal. Depicted is the change between current and future species richness projected for two 30-year periods (2021 to 2050 and 2051 to 2080), using artificial neural networks. Increasing intensities of purple indicate a decrease in species richness, whereas increasing intensities of green represent an increase in species richness. Black, white and grey cells indicate areas with stable species richness: black grid cells show low species richness in both periods; white cells show high species richness; grey cells show intermediate species richness (AraOjo et al., 2006).

crop varieties and better cropping practices) might far outweigh the effects of climate change (Ewert et al., 2005). Combined yield increases of wheat by 2050 could range from 37% under the B2 scenario to 101% under the A1 scenario (Ewert et al.,

2005). Increasing crop yield and decreasing or stabilising food and fibre demand could lead to a decrease in total agricultural land area in Europe (Rounsevell et al., 2005). Climate-related increases in crop yields are expected mainly in northern Europe, e.g., wheat: +2 to +9% by 2020, +8 to +25% by 2050, +10 to +30% by 2080 (Alexandrov et al., 2002; Ewert et al., 2005; Audsley et al., 2006; Olesen et al., 2007), and sugar beet +14 to +20% until the 2050s in England and Wales (Richter and Semenov, 2005), while the largest reductions of all crops are expected in the Mediterranean, the south-west Balkans and in the south of European Russia (Olesen and Bindi, 2002; Alcamo et al., 2005; Maracchi et al., 2005). In southern Europe, general decreases in yield (e.g., legumes -30 to + 5%; sunflower -12 to +3% and tuber crops -14 to +7% by 2050) and increases in water demand (e.g., for maize +2 to +4% and potato +6 to +10% by 2050) are expected for spring sown crops (Giannokopoulos et al., 2005; Audsley et al., 2006). The impacts on autumn sown crops are more geographically variable; yield is expected to strongly decrease in most southern areas, and increase in northern or cooler areas (e.g., wheat: +3 to +4% by 2020, -8 to +22% by 2050, -15 to +32% by 2080) (Santos et al., 2002; Giannakopoulos et al., 2005; Audsley et al., 2006; Olesen et al., 2007).

Some crops that currently grow mostly in southern Europe (e.g., maize, sunflower and soybeans) will become viable further north or at higher-altitude areas in the south (Audsley et al.,

2006). Projections for a range of SRES scenarios show a 30 to 50% increase in the area suitable for grain maize production in Europe by the end of the 21st century, including Ireland, Scotland, southern Sweden and Finland (Hilden et al., 2005; Olesen et al., 2007). By 2050 energy crops (e.g, oilseeds such as rape oilseed and sunflower), starch crops (e.g., potatoes), cereals (e.g., barley) and solid biofuel crops (such as sorghum and Miscanthus) show a northward expansion in potential cropping area, but a reduction in southern Europe (Tuck et al., 2006). The predicted increase in extreme weather events, e.g., spells of high temperature and droughts (Meehl and Tebaldi, 2004; Schär et al., 2004; Beniston et al., 2007), is expected to increase yield variability (Jones et al., 2003) and to reduce average yield (Trnka et al., 2004). In particular, in the European Mediterranean region, increases in the frequency of extreme climate events during specific crop development stages (e.g., heat stress during flowering period, rainy days during sowing time), together with higher rainfall intensity and longer dry spells, are likely to reduce the yield of summer crops (e.g., sunflower). Climate change will modify other processes on agricultural land. Projections made for winter wheat showed that climate change beyond 2070 may lead to a decrease in nitrate leaching from agricultural land over large parts of eastern Europe and some smaller areas in Spain, and an increase in the UK and in other parts of Europe (Olesen et al., 2007).

An increase in the frequency of severe heat stress in Britain is expected to enhance the risk of mortality of pigs and broiler chickens grown in intensive livestock systems (Turnpenny et al.,

2001). Increased frequency of droughts along the Atlantic coast (e.g., Ireland) may reduce the productivity of forage crops such that they are no longer sufficient for livestock at current stocking rates without irrigation (Holden and Brereton, 2002, 2003; Holden et al., 2003). Increasing temperatures may also increase the risk of livestock diseases by (i) supporting the dispersal of insects, e.g., Culicoides imicola, that are main vectors of several arboviruses, e.g., bluetongue (BT) and African horse sickness (AHS); (ii) enhancing the survival of viruses from one year to the next; (iii) improving conditions for new insect vectors that are now limited by colder temperatures (Wittmann and Baylis, 2000; Mellor and Wittmann, 2002; Colebrook and Wall, 2004; Gould et al., 2006).

12.4.72 Marine fisheries and aquaculture

An assessment of the vulnerability of the north-east Atlantic marine ecoregion concluded that climate change is very likely to produce significant impacts on selected marine fish and shellfish (Baker, 2005). Temperature increase has a major effect on fisheries production in the North Atlantic, causing changes in species distribution, increased recruitment and production in northern waters and a marked decrease at the southern edge of current ranges (Clark et al., 2003; Dutil and Brander, 2003; Hiscock et al., 2004; Perry et al., 2005). High fishing pressure is likely to exacerbate the threat to fisheries, e.g., for Northern cod (Brander, 2005). Sea-surface temperature changes as low as 0.9°C over the 45 years to 2002 have affected the North Sea phytoplankton communities, and have led to mismatches between trophic levels (see Glossary) throughout the community and the seasonal cycle (Edwards and Richardson, 2004). Together with fishing pressure, these changes are expected to influence most regional fisheries operating at trophic levels close to changes in zooplankton production (Anadón et al., 2005; Heath, 2005). Long-term climate variability is an important determinant of fisheries production at the regional scale (see Klyashtorin, 2001; Sharp, 2003), with multiple negative and positive effects on ecosystems and livelihoods (Hamilton et al., 2000; Eide and Heen, 2002; Roessig et al., 2004). Our ability to assess biodiversity impacts, ecosystem effects and socioeconomic costs of climate change in coastal and marine ecosystems is still limited but is likely to be substantial for some highly dependent communities and enterprises (Gitay et al., 2002; Pinnegar et al., 2002; Robinson and Frid, 2003; Anadón et al, 2005; Boelens, et al., 2005). The overall interactions and cumulative impacts on the marine biota of sea-level rise (coastal squeeze with losses of nursery and spawning habitats), increased storminess, changes in the NAO, changing salinity, acidification of coastal waters, and other stressors such as pollutants, are likely but little known.

Marine and freshwater fish and shellfish aquaculture represented 33% of the total EU fishery production value and 17% of its volume in 2002 (EC, 2004). Warmer sea temperatures have increased growing seasons, growth rates, feed conversion and primary productivity (Beaugrand et al., 2002; Edwards et al., 2006), all of which will benefit shellfish production. Opportunities for new species will arise from expanded geographic distribution and range (Beaugrand and Reid, 2003), but increased temperatures will increase stress and susceptibility to pathogens (Anadón et al., 2005). Ecosystem changes with new invasive or non-native species such as gelatinous zooplankton and medusa, toxic algal blooms, increased fouling and decreased dissolved oxygen events, will increase operation costs. Increased storm-induced damage to equipment and facilities will increase capital costs. Aquaculture has its own local environmental impacts derived from particulate organic wastes and the spread of pathogens to wild populations, which are likely to compound climate-induced ecosystem stress (SECRU, 2002; Boelens et al., 2005).

12.4.8 Energy and transport

12.4.8.1 Energy

Under future climate change, demand for heating decreases and demand for cooling increases relative to 1961 to 1990 levels (Santos et al., 2002; Livermore, 2005; López Zafra et al., 2005; Hanson et al., 2006). In the UK and Russia, a 2°C warming by 2050 is estimated to decrease space heating needs in winter, thus decreasing fossil fuel demand by 5 to 10% and electricity demand by 1 to 3% (Kirkinen et al., 2005). Wintertime heating demand in Hungary and Romania is expected to decrease by 6 to 8% (Vajda et al., 2004) and by 10% in Finland (Venalainen et al., 2004) by the period 2021 to 2050. By 2100, this decrease rises from 20 to 30% in Finland (Kirkinen et al., 2005) to around 40% in the case of Swiss residential buildings (Frank, 2005; Christenson et al., 2006). Around the Mediterranean, two to three fewer weeks a year will require heating but an additional two to three (along the coast) to five weeks (inland areas) will need cooling by 2050 (Giannakopoulos et al., 2005). Cartalis et al. (2001) estimated up to 10% decrease in energy heating requirements and up to 28% increase in cooling requirements in 2030 for the south-east Mediterranean region. Fronzek and Carter (2007) reported a strong increase in cooling requirements for central and southern Europe (reaching 114% for Madrid) associated with an increase in inter-annual variability by 2071 to 2100. Summer space cooling needs for air conditioning will particularly affect electricity demand (Valor et al., 2001; Giannakopoulos and Psiloglou, 2006) with increases of up to 50% in Italy and Spain by the 2080s (Livermore, 2005). Peaks in electricity demand during summer heatwaves are very likely to equal or exceed peaks in demand during cold winter periods in Spain (López Zafra et al., 2005).

The current key renewable energy sources in Europe are hydropower (19.8% of electricity generated) and wind. By the 2070s, hydropower potential for the whole of Europe is expected to decline by 6%, translated into a 20 to 50% decrease around the Mediterranean, a 15 to 30% increase in northern and eastern Europe and a stable hydropower pattern for western and central Europe (Lehner et al., 2005). There will be a small increase in the annual wind energy resource over Atlantic and northern Europe, with more substantial increases during the winter season by 2071 to 2100 (Pryor et al., 2005). Biofuel production is largely determined by the supply of moisture and the length of the growing season (Olesen and Bindi, 2002). By the 22nd century, land area devoted to biofuels may increase by a factor of two to three in all parts of Europe (Metzger et al., 2004). More solar energy will be available in the Mediterranean region

(Santos et al., 2002). Climate change could have a negative impact on thermal power production since the availability of cooling water may be reduced at some locations because of climate-related decreases (Arnell et al., 2005) or seasonal shifts in river runoff (Zierl and Bugmann, 2005). The distribution of energy is also vulnerable to climate change. There is a small increase in line resistance with increasing mean temperatures (Santos et al., 2002) coupled with negative effects on line sag and gas pipeline compressor efficiency due to higher maximum temperatures (López Zafra et al., 2005). All these combined effects add to the overall uncertainty of climate change impacts on power grids.

12.4.8.2 Transport

Higher temperatures can damage rail and road surfaces (AEAT, 2003; Wooller 2003; Mayor of London, 2005) and affect passenger comfort. There is likely to be an increased use of air conditioning in private vehicles and where public transport is perceived to be uncomfortable, modal switch may result (London Climate Change Partnership, 2002). The likely increase in extreme weather events may cause flooding, particularly of underground rail systems and roads with inadequate drainage (London Climate Change Partnership, 2002; Defra, 2004a; Mayor of London, 2005). High winds may affect the safety of air, sea and land transport whereas intense rainfall can also impact adversely on road safety although in some areas this may be offset to a degree by fewer snowy days (Keay and Simmonds, 2006). Reduced incidences of frost and snow will also reduce maintenance and treatment costs. Droughts and the associated reduced runoff may affect river navigation on major thoroughfares such as the Rhine (Middelkoop and Kwadijk, 2001) and shrinkage and subsidence may damage infrastructure (Highways Agency, 2005a). Reduced sea ice and thawing ground in the Arctic will increase marine access and navigable periods for the Northern Sea Route; however, thawing of ground permafrost will disrupt access through shorter ice road seasons and cause damage to existing infrastructure (ACIA, 2004).

12.4.9 Tourism and recreation

Tourism is closely linked to climate, in terms of the climate of the source and destination countries of tourists and climate seasonality, i.e., the seasonal contrast that drives demand for summer vacations in Europe (Viner, 2006). Conditions for tourism as described by the Tourism Comfort Index (Amelung and Viner, 2006) are expected to improve in northern and western Europe (Hanson et al., 2006). Hamilton et al. (2005) indicated that an arbitrary climate change scenario of 1°C would lead to a gradual shift of tourist destinations further north and up mountains affecting the preferences of sun and beach lovers from western and northern Europe. Mountainous parts of France, Italy and Spain could become more popular because of their relative coolness (Ceron and Dubois, 2000). Higher summer temperatures may lead to a gradual decrease in summer tourism in the Mediterranean but an increase in spring and perhaps autumn (Amelung and Viner, 2006). Maddison (2001) has shown that Greece and Spain will experience a lengthening and a flattening of their tourism season by 2030. Occupancy rates associated with a longer tourism season in the Mediterranean will spread demand evenly and thus alleviate the pressure on summer water supply and energy demand (Amelung and Viner, 2006).

The ski industry in central Europe is likely to be disrupted by significant reductions in natural snow cover especially at the beginning and end of the ski season (Elsasser and Burki, 2002). Hantel et al. (2000) found at the most sensitive elevation in the Austrian Alps (600 m in winter and 1400 m in spring) and with no snowmaking adaptation considered, a 1°C rise leads to four fewer weeks of skiing days in winter and six fewer weeks in spring. Beniston et al. (2003) calculated that a 2°C warming with no precipitation change would reduce the seasonal snow cover at a Swiss Alpine site by 50 days/yr, and with a 50% increase in precipitation by 30 days.

12.4.10 Property insurance

Insurance systems differ widely between countries (e.g., in many countries flood damage is not insured) and this affects the vulnerability of property to climate change. The value of property at risk also varies between countries. The damage from a wind speed of 200 km/h varies from 0.2% of the value of insured property in Austria, to around 1.2% in Denmark (Munich Re, 2002). While insurers are able in principle to adapt quickly to new risks such as climate change, the uncertainty of future climate impacts has made it difficult for them to respond to this new threat.

The uncertainty of future climate as well as socio-economic factors leads to a wide range of estimates for the costs of future flood damage. For instance, annual river flood damage in the UK is expected to increase by the 2080s between less than twice the current level of damages under the B2 scenario to greater than twenty times more under the A1 scenario (ABI, 2004). Moreover, future insurance costs will rise significantly if current rare events become more common. This is because the costs of infrequent catastrophic events are much higher than more frequent events, e.g., in the UK, the cost of a 1000-year extreme climate event is roughly 2.5 times larger than the cost of a 100-year event (Swiss Re, 2000), and in Germany, insurance claims increase as the cube of maximum wind speed (Klawa and Ulbrich, 2003).

12.4.11 Human health

Countries in Europe currently experience mortality due to heat and cold (Beniston, 2002; Ballester et al., 2003; Crawford et al., 2003; Keatinge and Donaldson, 2004). Heat-related deaths are apparent at relatively moderate temperatures (Huynen et al., 2001; Hajat et al., 2002; Keatinge, 2003; Hassi 2005; Paldy et al., 2005), but severe impacts occur during heatwaves (Kosatsky, 2005; Pirard et al. 2005; Kovats and Jendritzky, 2006; WHO, 2006; see also Section 12.6.1). Over the next century, heatwaves are very likely to become more common and severe (Meehl and Tebaldi, 2004). Heat-related deaths are likely to increase, even after assuming acclimatisation (Casimiro and Calheiros, 2002; Department of Health, 2002). Cold mortality is a problem in mid-latitudes (Keatinge et al., 2000; Nafstad et al., 2001; Mercer,

2003; Hassi, 2005) but is likely to decline with milder winters (Department of Health, 2002; Dessai, 2003). Major determinants of winter mortality include respiratory infections and poor quality housing (Aylin et al., 2001; Wilkinson et al., 2001,2004; Mitchell et al., 2002; Izmerov et al., 2004; Diaz et al., 2005). Climate change is likely to increase the risk of mortality and injury from wind storms, flash floods and coastal flooding (Kirch et al., 2005). The elderly, disabled, children, women, ethnic minorities and those on low incomes are more vulnerable and need special consideration (Enarson and Fordham, 2001; Tapsell and Tunstall, 2001; Hajat et al., 2003; WHO, 2004,2005; Penning-Rowsell et al., 2005; Ebi, 2006).

Changes in tick distribution consistent with climate warming have been reported in several European locations, although evidence is not conclusive (Kovats et al., 2001; Lindgren and Gustafson, 2001; Department of Health, 2002; Bröker andGniel, 2003; Hunter, 2003; Butenco and Larichev, 2004; Korenberg, 2004; Kuhn et al., 2004). The effect of climate variability on tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) or Lyme disease incidence is still unclear (Randolph, 2002; Beran et al., 2004; Izmerov et al., 2004; Daniel et al., 2006; Lindgren and Jaenson, 2006; Rogers and Randolph, 2006). Future changes in tick-host habitats and human-tick contacts may be more important for disease transmission than changes in climate (Randolph, 2004). Visceral leishmaniasis is present in the Mediterranean region and climate change may expand the range of the disease northwards (Department of Health, 2002; Molyneux, 2003; Korenberg, 2004; Kuhn et al., 2004; Lindgren and Naucke, 2006). The re-emergence of endemic malaria in Europe due to climate change is very unlikely (Reiter, 2000, 2001; Semenov et al., 2002; Yasukevich, 2003; Kuhn et al., 2004; Reiter et al., 2004; Sutherst, 2004; van Lieshout et al., 2004). The maintenance of the current malaria situation is projected up to 2025 in Russia (Yasyukevich, 2004). An increased risk of localised outbreaks is possible due to climate change, but only if suitable vectors are present in sufficient numbers (Casimiro and Calheiros, 2002; Department of Health 2002). Increases in malaria outside Europe may affect the risk of imported cases. Diseases associated with rodents are known to be sensitive to climate variability, but no assessments on the impacts of climate change have been published for Europe.

Climate change is also likely to affect water quality and quantity in Europe, and hence the risk of contamination of public and private water supplies (Miettinen et al., 2001; Hunter, 2003; Elpiner, 2004; Kovats and Tirado, 2006). Higher temperatures have implications for food safety, as transmission of salmonellosis is temperature sensitive (Kovats et al, 2004; Opopol and Nicolenco, 2004; van Pelt et al. 2004). Both extreme rainfall and droughts can increase the total microbial loads in freshwater and have implications for disease outbreaks and water quality monitoring (Howe et al., 2002; Kistemann et al., 2002; Opopol et al. 2003; Knight et al., 2004; Schijven and de Roda Husman, 2005).

Important climate change effects on air quality are likely in Europe (Casimiro and Calheiros, 2002; Sanderson et al., 2003; Langner et al., 2005; Stevenson et al., 2006). Climate change may increase summer episodes of photochemical smog due to increased temperatures, and decreased episodes of poor air quality associated with winter stagnation (Hennessy, 2002; Revich and Shaposhnikov, 2004; Stedman, 2004; Kislitsin et al., 2005), but model results are inconsistent. Stratospheric ozone depletion and warmer summers influence human exposure to ultra-violet radiation and therefore increase the risk of skin cancer (Inter-Agency Commission, 2002; van der Leun and de Gruijl, 2002; de Gruijl et al., 2003; Diffey, 2004). Pollen phenology is changing in response to observed climate change, especially in central Europe, and at a wide range of elevations (Emberlin et al., 2002; Bortenschlager and Bortenschlager, 2005). Earlier onset and extension of the allergenic pollen seasons are likely to affect some allergenic diseases (van Vliet et al., 2002; Verlato et al., 2002; Huynen and Menne, 2003; Beggs, 2004; Weiland et al., 2004).

Figure 12.3. Key vulnerabilities of European systems and sectors to climate change during the 21st century for the main biogeographic regions of Europe (EEA, 2004a): TU: Tundra, pale turquoise. BO: Boreal, dark blue. AT: Atlantic, light blue. CE: Central, green; includes the Pannonian Region. MT: Mountains, purple. ME: Mediterranean, orange; includes the Black Sea region. ST: Steppe, cream. SLR: sea-level rise. NAO: North Atlantic Oscillation. Copyright EEA, Copenhagen. http://www.eea.europa.eu

Figure 12.3. Key vulnerabilities of European systems and sectors to climate change during the 21st century for the main biogeographic regions of Europe (EEA, 2004a): TU: Tundra, pale turquoise. BO: Boreal, dark blue. AT: Atlantic, light blue. CE: Central, green; includes the Pannonian Region. MT: Mountains, purple. ME: Mediterranean, orange; includes the Black Sea region. ST: Steppe, cream. SLR: sea-level rise. NAO: North Atlantic Oscillation. Copyright EEA, Copenhagen. http://www.eea.europa.eu

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment