The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change Page: 5
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The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change
Change in state of environment Examples of reported impacts Quantified impact
European Alps lost approximately infrastructure damage.
one third of their area and one half * Glacier retreat affects tourism
of their mass. Since 1980, another and winter sports in the
20-30 % of the remaining ice has mountains and reduces the
been lost attractiveness of mountain
Current glacier retreat in the Alps is landscapes.
reaching levels exceeding those of * Changes in the water cycle are
the past 5 000 years. leading to a reduced supply of
drinking water, weakening
irrigation and curbing the
generation of hydropower.
Snow cover . Altered river discharge * For every 1 C increase in
The northern hemisphere's annual * Impacts on vegetation (snow temperature, the snowline rises by
snow cover extent has decreased by insulates) about 150 metres.
about 10 % since 1966. The snow . Altered wildlife migration
cover period in the northern patterns
hemisphere land areas between 45 * Adverse affect on snow sports
N and 75 N shortened by an and winter tourism
average rate of 8.8 days per decade * Adverse effect on hydro
between 1971 and 1994. electric generation based on
* Benefits - reduced
complications in road and rail
Precipitation extremes * Increased incidence of * Between 1975-2001, 238 flood
The frequency of very wet days flooding. Number of flood events were recorded in Europe.
significantly decreased in recent events in Europe clearly
decades in southern Europe, but increased during 1975-2001.
increased in mid and northern
Temperature extremes * Decreased number of human * Survival of some European bird
Over last 100 years the number of deaths from cold. species wintering in Europe
cold and frost days has decreased in * Decreased number of bird increased between 2 % and 6 %
most of Europe. deaths. per 1 C rise in winter temperature
Temperature extremes * Heatwaves are projected to * See 2003 Heatwave
Over the last 100 years the number become more frequent and
of days over 25C (summer days) more intense during the
and of heatwaves has increased in twenty first century and hence
most parts of Europe. the number of excess deaths
due to heat is projected to
increase in the future.
Summer 2003 Heatwave * Reduced crop yield * During 2003 heatwave, many
southern European countries
suffered drops in crop yield of up
to 30% (some of northern Europe
profited from higher T and lower
Summer 2003 Heatwave * Deaths from heat. * More than 20,000 excess deaths
attributable to heat, particularly in
aged population, in Western and
AEA Technology Environment, August 2005
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Watkiss, Paul; Downing, Tom; Handley, Claire & Butterfield, Ruth. The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change, text, September 2005; Oxford, England. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29337/m1/16/: accessed February 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .