Europe Saw a Spike in Extreme Weather Over Past 5 Years, Science Academies Say

This article discusses the impacts that climate change is having in Europe. Floods, heat waves and other extreme weather events that can be exacerbated by climate change have risen across Europe, the European science academies report.

Europeans are facing more frequent extreme weather as the planet warms. Floods and big landslides have quadrupled and extreme heat waves and crop-damaging droughts have doubled since 1980, with a sharp spike in the last five years, according to the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council’s latest extreme weather update.

The increase in the frequency of extreme weather events should spur European countries to boost adaptation and resiliency efforts, said EASAC Environment Program Director Michael Norton.

The academies’ report notes that changes in the ocean include a weakening of the primary heat transporting current in the Atlantic. That current, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, carries warm water north from the tropics and cooler water south from around Greenland. Studies vary on the magnitude of the weakening and whether the current could shut down entirely, something scientists say would have catastrophic consequences.

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