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Friday, October 28, 2005

Climate change will bring drought and fire to Europe

Image from BBC story

A recent study published in the prestigious Science magazine, and reported on by the BBC, used computer modeling to predict the impact of global climate change on Europe in the next century. The main negative impacts are expected to be water shortages and droughts, increased frequency and severities of forest fires and increased flooding. Arguably, all of these effects have already been observed in Europe in the last few years. Apparently, it is only going to get worse. However, one of overall results of the report was that most of Europe is going to be less affected by global climate change than other regions such as the Arctic and the Amazon. Apart from droughts, fires and floods, the European simulations predict rapid changes in the distribution of various species of plants and animals as well as changes in crop suitability in agricultural areas. A good friend of mine from Portugal was telling me that the widespread fires that Portugal experienced this year have only just been put out in mid October, and that they are thinking about extending the fire season in Portugal to accomodate this shift. These kinds of things could well become the norm across Europe in the next few decades.

A NZ Herald piece picked up on the water shortage part of the simulation analysis, especially for the Mediterranean, and reminds readers that "in 1995, about 193 million people out of an EU population of 383 million faced water shortages."


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