Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Preparing for Change; A Newcastle University Study Warns How Heatwaves, Floods and Droughts Are to Become More Common Due to Climate Change. TONY HENDERSON Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Preparing for Change; A Newcastle University Study Warns How Heatwaves, Floods and Droughts Are to Become More Common Due to Climate Change. TONY HENDERSON Reports

Article excerpt

Byline: TONY HENDERSON

CITIES across Europe face more extreme weather in the future linked to climate change, a study by North East academics warns.

The research by Newcastle University, covering 571 cities, shows how the impact of flooding, droughts and heatwaves by 2050-2100 will exceed previous predictions.

The study suggests there will be: | A worsening of heatwaves for all 571 cities | Increasing drought conditions, particularly in southern Europe | An increase in river flooding, especially in north-western European cities | Even in the most optimistic case, 85% of UK cities with a river - including Newcastle and Carlisle - are predicted to face increased flooding.

The team showed results for three possible futures which they called the low, medium and high impact scenarios.

The study shows that even the most optimistic - the low impact scenario - predicts both the number of heatwave days and their maximum temperature will increase for all European cities.

Southern European cities will see the biggest increases in the number of heatwave days, while central European cities will see the greatest increase in temperature during heatwaves - between 2degC to 7degC for the low scenario and 8degC to 14degC for the high scenario.

"Increases in river flooding, most prevalent in NW Europe, are particularly worrying for the British Isles," says the study.

Half of UK cities could see at least a 50% increase on peak river flows.

The cities predicted to be worst hit under the high impact scenario are Cork, Derry, Waterford, Wrexham, Carlisle and Glasgow, while the low impact scenario includes Newcastle, Chester, and Aberdeen. By 2051-2100, for the low impact scenario, cities in the south of Iberia, such as Malaga and Almeria, are expected to experience droughts more than twice as bad as in 1951-2000.

While for the high impact scenario, 98% of European cities could see worse droughts in the future and cities in Southern Europe may experience droughts up to 14 times worse than today.

"Although southern European regions are adapted to cope with droughts, this level of change could be beyond breaking point," said Newcastle University's Dr Selma Guerreiro, lead author of the study.

"Furthermore, most cities have considerable changes in more than one hazard which highlights the substantial challenge cities face in managing climate risks."

The implications of the study in terms of how Europe adapts to climate change are far-reaching, says the university's Professor Rich-Turn to Page 26 From Page 25 ard Dawson, co-author and lead investigator of the study.

"The research highlights the urgent need to design and adapt our cities to cope with these future conditions.

"We are already seeing at first hand the implications of extreme weather events in capital cities. …

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