Tag: Europe

SW Europe faces greatest multi-hazard climate risks

Europe drought and climate change
In early December 2015 the European Alps were mostly free of snow during a lengthy dry period. @bberwyn photo.

Flooding, droughts and wildfires all expected to increase

Staff Report

New European climate modeling doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the decades ahead. With global warming, Europe is facing a progressively stronger increase in multiple climate hazards, according to the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.

Early in the 21st century, reported losses from extreme weather are already at historically high levels, and climate change is likely to increase the risk, the researchers concluded in a new paper presented late April at the European Geosciences Union annual assembly in Vienna. Continue reading “SW Europe faces greatest multi-hazard climate risks”

Global warming drives up European dengue risk

Mosquito-borne disease could be widespread by end of century

Global warming will drive the spread of dengue into higher latitudes in coming decades.
Global warming will drive the spread of dengue into higher latitudes in coming decades.

Staff Report

Rapidly warming global temperatures could spur epidemics of mosquito-transmitted dengue across wide parts of Europe by the end of the century, according to researchers with Umeå University in Sweden.

Along with the fact that disease-bearing mosquitoes will expand their range in a warming world, the scientists also found that, in general, climate change increase virus reproduction and transmission, and the rate in which the female mosquitos bite. As a result, a warmer overall climate extends the seasonal window of opportunity for mosquitos to transmit dengue fever.

“In the midst of warming temperatures on the European continent and a number of complex factors such as increased travel and trade, Europe now finds itself at an elevated risk of mosquito-borne epidemics such as dengue fever,” said Jing Liu-Helmersson, researcher at Umeå University’s Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine and main author of the article. Continue reading “Global warming drives up European dengue risk”

Are West European beaches under a global warming siege?

Study finds 2013-2014 winter was stormiest since 1940s

As global warming drives rising sea levels and more intense storms, some communities are looking to augment their beaches with "imported" sand. like here on Manasota Key in Englewood, Florida.
As global warming drives rising sea levels and more intense storms, some communities are looking to augment their beaches with “imported” sand. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Fierce Atlantic storms that surged toward Europe’s western coastlines during the winter of 2013-2014 were the strongest in nearly 70 years — and such storms may become more frequent and even more powerful due to global warming.

The trend toward more storminess has implications for land-use planners and emergency management agencies in Europe, with the potential to dramatically change the equilibrium state of beaches, including permanent changes in beach gradient, coastal alignment and nearshore bar position.

“The extreme winter of 2013-2014 is in line with historical trends in wave conditions and is also predicted to increasingly occur due to climate change according to some of the climate models,” said Tim Scott, a lecturer in ocean exploration at Plymouth University and a co-author of the study. “Whether due to more intense and … or more frequent storms, it should undoubtedly be considered in future coastal and sea defense planning along the Atlantic coast of Europe.” Continue reading “Are West European beaches under a global warming siege?”

New UN support network aims at protecting refugee children

‘We are concerned about the welfare of unaccompanied boys and girls on the move and unprotected across Europe …’

New family service centers are being established to ease the plight of refugee and migrant children in southeastern Europe.
New family service centers are being established to ease the plight of refugee and migrant children in southeastern Europe.
Refugees from Syria wait to gain entry to Austria at the Spielfeld border crossing from Slovenia in November. 2015. @bberwyn photo.
Refugees from Syria wait to gain entry to Austria at the Spielfeld border crossing from Slovenia in November. 2015. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

With women and children making up a growing percentage of refugees and migrants in southeastern Europe, the UN Refugee Agency and UNICEF are setting up special “blue dot” support centers for children and families along the most frequently used migration routes.

In February, women and children made up nearly 60 per cent of sea arrivals compared to 27 per cent in September 2015. The new centers aim to identify and protect children and adolescents traveling alone, and reunite them with family wherever possible, depending on their best interests. Children are especially prone to risks from sickness, trauma, violence, exploitation and trafficking. Continue reading “New UN support network aims at protecting refugee children”

Refugee stream intensifies; 400 deaths already in 2016

2,000 people per day trying to cross the Mediterranean to safety

aDSF
Refugees wait to cross from Slovenia to Austria at Spielfelden in Nov. 2015. Does this picture represent the common European principles of dignity, solidarity and human rights that the European Union was founded upon? @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

As the conflict in Syria reaches new levels of brutality, the flow of refugees from the region toward Europe has accelerated, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. By latest count, more than 80,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Europe by boat during the first six weeks of 2016, more than in the first four months of 2015, despite wintry weather and rough seas, the UNHCR officials said Friday.

Already this year, more than 400 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean. Right now, about 2,000 people are trying to cross the waters each day. Last year, the numbers didn’t reach this level until July.

“The majority of those arriving in January 2016, nearly 58 percent, were women and children … one in three people arriving to Greece were children as compared to just 1 in 10 in September 2015,” UNHCR’s chief spokesperson Melissa Fleming said during a press briefing in Geneva. Fleming said more than 91 per cent of those arriving in Greece come from the world’s top ten refugee producing countries, including Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Continue reading “Refugee stream intensifies; 400 deaths already in 2016”

Morning photo: Austria revisited

Countryside

All I can really say about this set is that I want to go back and see all these places in all their other seasons — and that, if you’re ever in Upper Austria, be sure not to leave without trying a portion of Speckknödel, a delicious dumpling variety stuffed with bits of crisp bacon and baked with a fluffy milk and egg wash.

2015 will be second-hottest year on record in Europe

Summer heat waves fueled drought, forest insect outbreaks

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2015 temperatures across most of Europe were well above the 1981-2010 average. Map courtesy European Regional Climate Centre.

Staff Report

With little snow in the Alps for the start of the winter season, Europeans won’t be surprised to hear that 2015 will enter the climate annals as the second-warmest year on record, just slightly cooler than last year.

Much of eastern Europe was exceptionally warm in 2015, and central Europe baked under a summer heatwave that brought drought conditions to many breadbasket regions, stressing forests and affecting crop yields. In southern Austria, a small forest fire burned in early December. Continue reading “2015 will be second-hottest year on record in Europe”