Potentially important impacts are shown for the water cycle in Europe. These will affect water resources, and change flood and drought risks, though the changes differ across the continent. Precipitation, evapotranspiration and runoff are projected to increase in Central and Northern Europe, but decrease in the Mediterranean region. There are also potential increases in flood risks across much of Europe, although droughts and very low level of soil moisture are projected to increase in the South, which already experiences water stress today.
Agriculture and crop yields
The first results based on the simulations with EURO-CORDEX ensemble indicate that +2°C global warming will likely reduce yields of winter crops, e.g. winter wheat yields will decrease by more than 0.5 t/ha in many western and central-European regions. Summer crops would be on a whole negatively affected in the Mediterranean region, but, in general, they will experience greater yields at higher latitudes. Yields of summer crops are likely to increase by more than 70% at North latitudes (above 55°N), even though the absolute yield may still be quite low.
Among the four 'big players' in European skiing tourism - Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland - France shows the lowest increase in risk of losses in winter overnight stays. The highest weather-induced risk of losses in winter overnight stays - in the reference period (1971-2000) as well as for the +2°C global warming - is found in Austria, followed by Italy. Even if surface temperatures stabilize and achieve the + 2°C global limit, sea-level rise will continue over the century.
One of the IMPACT2C research questions therefore is: how will the Maldives cope with rising sea-levels? Initial results indicate that relative sea-level rise from the tide gauge (extracted from the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level, 2014) nearby Malé has been approximately 4mm/yr since 1990 - faster than the global average.
The project has now entered its crucial final phase, working on how to best present the results to inform wide audiences, including vital sectors and policy makers. A series of Policy Briefing Notes are being produced and are framed around a series of questions concerning the international goal to limit global warming to + 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels. The first two Issues are available here.