Why Europe Must Prepare For Extreme Weather

Why Europe Must Prepare For Extreme Weather

Flood waters sweep across Venice’s Piazza San Marco in 2014. Image: Yitpong via Flickr

Cities and towns across Europe are warned to adapt to the battering they face from intense storms as extreme weather events become more frequent.

Extreme weather, high winds and flooding are causing increasing disruption and damage in European cities, and local authorities and scientists are being warned that they need to act together to lessen the impact.

Because storms do not respect country borders, regional long-term weather forecasting needs to be developed so that early warnings can be given for all areas that may be in the path of extreme weather, says the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG CLIMA).

Starting immediately, all towns and cities across Europe should be assessed for their vulnerability to flooding and other hazards, according to DG CLIMA, which leads the EC’s efforts to fight climate change at European Union and international level.

When the storms come − as inevitably they will, with increasing frequency − these preparations will help protect people, electricity supplies and prevent disruption to roads, rail and underground systems. Emergency services will know in advance which places are most likely to need help.

Extreme Weather Increase

Over the last three decades, Europe has already seen a 60% increase in extreme weather events, and one of the most dramatic documented examples comes from Venice, where the waters are rising and flooding is becoming a serious problem.

A century ago, there were only one or two floods a year on average. But in 2014, there were 125 in which the tides overflowed into the city − compared with only 35 in 1983 and 44 in 1993. Seven of the 2014 floods were classed as extreme, compared with only one in 1983.

European cities are the continent’s centres of innovation and growth. They house about 75% of the population and use about 80% of the energy produced.

“Because of the concentration of people and economic assets, towns and cities are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including impacts on health, infrastructure and quality of life, with the urban poor being the most affected segment of society,” says Alessandra Sgobbi, policy officer at the DG CLIMA Adaptation Unit.


 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

Examples of the recent costs of extreme weather include flooding and winter storms in the UK in 2014, which cost an estimated €20 billion in disruption to the economy and damage. Losses as a result of flooding in Genoa, Italy, in the same year amounted to €100 million.

“A well-anticipated crisis can often mean that many lives and properties are saved”

Human folly has often made cities vulnerable because of poor planning or bad building design in risk-prone areas, Sgobbi says. For example, 23 urban areas in France have over 100,000 inhabitants settled in flood zones.

Experts estimate that, unless action is taken now, the economic costs to EU cities of storm damage could exceed €190 billion annually by 2070.

“Cities represent the biggest stakes, but every community has its specific means to manage the risk, and some are better prepared than others,” says Yann Eglin, risk management engineer at the National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture (IRSTEA) in France.

Paris was one of the French cities that suffered considerable damage after the heavy rainfall in early June this year. Electricity grids, the basement of Louvre museum, part of the metro system and rail lines were all affected.

“Whenever there is flooding, rescue teams need to know all the points where water may enter into the underground transport network, so that they can deploy devices to protect station entrances, air vents and any other duct likely to let water in,” says Charles Perrin, a hydrologist at IRSTEA.

Scientists stress the need for planning and preparation to avoid time-wasting when a flood alert is issued. “A well-anticipated crisis can often mean that many lives and properties are saved,” Eglin says. “Preparing the return to normality is equally important. This is what makes a city resilient,”

The scientific community is trying to come up with methods to protect against the extreme weather conditions.

Mitigation Tools

In this context, European researchers and experts are working on a project called RAIN, which focuses on developing a series of mitigation tools to enhance the security of the European infrastructure networks, such as transport, energy and telecommunication systems. The Helsinki floods of 2005 are the focus of one of their case studies.

“An important step is to be able to carry out long-term risk assessments, scenario analysis and forecasting,” says Beatriz Yordi, head of the DG CLIMA Adaptation Unit.

“This will help planning and implementation processes and allow us to develop a comprehensive picture of current and future climate change risks while managing the associated uncertainty.”

Forecasting must include potential changes in river flooding and sea level rise. And planners need to determine how the climate will affect increasing urban density and changing populations. – Climate News Network

About the Author

brown paulPaul Brown is the joint editor of Climate News Network. He is a former environment correspondent for The Guardian newspaper and teaches journalism in developing countries. He has written 10 books − eight on environmental subjects, including four for children − and written scripts for television documentaries. He can be reached at [email protected]

Global Warning: The Last Chance for Change by Paul Brown.Book by this Author:

Global Warning: The Last Chance for Change
by Paul Brown.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

More Articles By This Author

You May Also Like

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeeliwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptroruesswsvthtrukurvi

INNERSELF VOICES

group of multi-racial individuals standing for a group photo
Seven Ways You Can Show Respect to Your Diverse Team (Video)
by Kelly McDonald
Respect is profoundly meaningful, but costs nothing to give. Here are ways you can demonstrate (and…
elephant walking in front of a setting sun
Astrological Overview and Horoscope: May 16 - 22, 2022
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
photo of Leo Buscaglia from cover of his book: Living, Loving and Learning
How to Change Someone's Life in a Few Seconds
by Joyce Vissell
My life was changed dramatically when someone took that second to point out my beauty.
a composite photograph of a total lunar eclipse
Astrological Overview and Horoscope: May 9 - 15, 2022
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
05 08 developing compassionate thinking 2593344 completed
Developing Compassionate Thinking Towards Self and Others
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
When people speak of compassion, they mostly are referring to having compassion for others... for…
a man writing a letter
Writing the Truth and Allowing the Emotions to Flow
by Barbara Berger
Writing things down is a good way to practice truth telling.
a young couple, wearing protective masks, standing on a bridge
A Bridge for Healing: Dear Corona Virus...
by Laura Aversano
The Coronavirus pandemic represented a current in our psychic and physical spheres of reality that…
a silouhette of a person sitting in front of words such as compassionate, attentive, accepting, etc.
Daily Inspiration: May 6, 2022
by Marie T, Russell, InnerSelf.com
What kind of teacher is living in your head?
A Gift Behind Every Disappointment
A Gift Behind Every Disappointment
by Joyce Vissell
"There is a gift behind each disappointment and sadness." These are words my mother spoke to me…
Get Motivated to Meditate: Closing Your Eyes To Wake Up
Get Motivated to Meditate: Closing Your Eyes To Wake Up
by Sandy C. Newbigging
Mind mastery is the ability to stop thinking whenever you want. You use your mind as the amazing…
The Urgent Beauty of It All: Feeling and Emptying, Inhaling and Exhaling
The Urgent Beauty of It All: Feeling and Emptying, Inhaling and Exhaling
by Mark Nepo
Our task in living is how, not why. When we suffer, we get thrown into why: Why me? Why you? Why at…

MOST READ

05 08 developing compassionate thinking 2593344 completed
Developing Compassionate Thinking Towards Self and Others (Video)
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
When people speak of compassion, they mostly are referring to having compassion for others... for…
shopping when god loves you 4 8
How Feeling Loved by God Cuts Self-improvement Spending
by Duke University
Christians who are spiritual or religious are less likely to purchase self-improvement products…
branins gray and white matter 4 7
Understanding The Brain’s Gray and White Matter
by Christopher Filley, University of Colorado
The human brain is a three-pound organ that remains largely an enigma. But most people have heard…
eyes predict health 4 9
What Your Eyes Reveal About Your Health
by Barbara Pierscionek, Anglia Ruskin University
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have developed a smartphone app that can…
05 08 developing compassionate thinking 2593344 completed
Developing Compassionate Thinking Towards Self and Others
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
When people speak of compassion, they mostly are referring to having compassion for others... for…
a man writing a letter
Writing the Truth and Allowing the Emotions to Flow
by Barbara Berger
Writing things down is a good way to practice truth telling.
picture of a person's bare foot standing on the grass
Practices for Grounding and Reclaiming Your Connection to Nature
by Jovanka Ciares
We all have this connection to nature and to the whole world: to earth, to water, to air, and to…
photo of Leo Buscaglia from cover of his book: Living, Loving and Learning
How to Change Someone's Life in a Few Seconds
by Joyce Vissell
My life was changed dramatically when someone took that second to point out my beauty.

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.