According to a poll released by the European Investment Bank's climate survey in 2021, 50% of all Europeans feel they will have to relocate to another area or nation because of global climate change. In 2021 after a wet spring and heavily saturated soil, and unprecedented water levels, caused unusual amounts of flooding in rivers killing over 240 people across Europe. Scientists say that global warming makes the kind of extreme rainfall that caused deadly flash flooding in Europe and the trend seems to be increasing. A study released in 2021 by the World Weather Attribution group used historical records and computer simulations to examine how increasing temperatures have affected rainfall.
The study showed for every 1 degree Celsius (1.8 F) the planet warms, the atmosphere absorbs 7% more water. When the water is released, it causes extreme rainfall. The countries most affected in 2021 were Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. At least 243 people died in the floods, including 196 in Germany, 43 in Belgium, two in Romania, one in Italy and one in Austria. If warming continues beyond 1.8 degrees, floods could become an annual problem for more than 5 million Europeans. The jet stream changes caused by climate change exacerbate an already dire situation and from July to August in 2021, the stream was elongated, wavy and unstable forming a cut-off low. These type of separated air streams move very slowly, often dumping heavy precipitation over the same areas for a prolonged period of time.
But what does the future hold for Europe if climate warming cannot be halted by 2050? Europe’s north will struggle with floods and fires, even with warming at the lowest amount of 1.5 degrees above the pre-industrial average. But the south will face drought, urban heat agricultural decline, food shortages but the most dire forecast will be chronic water scarcity, millions who never faced hunger in their lifetimes will struggle for food and places near the middle east will experience deadly heat, unless steps are taken to build up defenses like Saudi Arabia's 650 billion dollar investments in renewable energy and desalination plants that turn seawater into drinkable water. On June 22,2021 the Kuwaiti city of Nuwaiseeb recorded the highest temperature in the world so far year at 53.2C (127.7F) the same year the European temperature record of 48.8°C (119.84 F) was confirmed in the Italian island of Sicily!
The world has barely warmed by more than 1 degree. But in 2010, the heat killed 54,000 in Russia and Central Europe. Eight years later, during a brutal heat wave that climate change made more likely, 104,000 died — the most in any region of the world that year. Germany alone recorded around two-thirds of the heat-related deaths of India, despite having a population 16 times smaller.
At these lower temperature increases, deaths are concentrated in Southern and Central Europe. If warming reaches 3 degrees, 200 million Europeans, not only in the south, but many in the north and the U.K., will live at high risk of heat stress. Without rapid changes to the built environment, extreme heat could kill 95,000 Europeans every year — more than 30 times the current average rate.
Europe is destined to become a hot continent. Even though Northern Europeans face less steep temperature increases, they need to start thinking like southerners. Buildings and homes designed to trap heat in winter do the same in summer and these homes could become death traps for vulnerable populations like children under five and the elderly.
The impacts of climate change, including flooding and increasing droughts, affect agricultural production, trade and ultimately the prices of agricultural products and the incomes of farmers. Farmer’s incomes are further influenced by agricultural policies, land use policies and climate mitigation policies. However, farmers can do things to limit the adverse impacts and enhance the beneficial impacts of climate change through suitable adaptation measures, such as adapting crop varieties, changing sowing dates and improving irrigation.