Climate change is already bringing extreme weather to Europe, and the situation is only set to get worse, the European Environment Agency has warned.
In a report, ‘Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2012’ the agency says that higher average temperatures have been observed across Europe - indeed, the last decade has been the warmest on record. Precipitation is decreasing in southern regions and increasing in the north.
And the Greenland ice sheet, Arctic sea ice and many glaciers across Europe are melting, with snow cover decreasing and most permafrost soils warming up.
Allied with all these changes, says the report, extreme weather events such as heat waves, floods and droughts are on the rise - as are the costs associated with dealing with them.
Future climate change is expected to make this worse, as extreme weather events become more intense and frequent. If European societies don't adapt, damage costs will go on rising, the report warns.
"Climate change is a reality around the world, and the extent and speed of change is becoming ever more evident," says Jacqueline McGlade, EEA executive director. "This means that every part of the economy, including households, needs to adapt as well as reduce emissions."
The report has been published ahead of a two-week UN climate conference in Doha, Qatar. It's available here.