By Tim Collins For Mailonline
21 February 2018
Experts looked at projections from greenhouse gas emissions scenario RCP8.5
This would see a 2.6°C (4.7°F) to 4.8°C (8.6°F) increase in global temperature
Worsening heatwaves are predicted for all 571 European cities studied
Drought conditions would be particularly likely in southern European countries
An increase in river flooding in north-western European cities was forecast
Researchers from Newcastle University looked at projections from all models associated with the high greenhouse gas emissions scenario RCP8.5.
This is used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and is seen by many as a ‘business as usual’ scenario, with emissions continuing to grow at current rates.
This would see a 2.6°C (4.7°F) to 4.8°C (8.6°F) increase in global temperature, according to the IPCC.
The team showed results for three possible futures which they called the low, medium and high impact scenarios.
The British Isles has some of the worst overall flood projections.
Even in the most optimistic case, 85 per cent of UK cities with a river – including London – are predicted to face increased river flooding.
For the high scenario, half of UK cities could see at least a 50 per cent 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 and for the more optimistic, low impact, scenario are Derry, Chester, Carlisle, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Newcastle.
By 2051 to 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 to 2000.
For the high impact scenario, 98 per cent of European cities could see worse droughts in the future. Cities in Southern Europe may experience droughts up to 14 times worse than today (stock image)
While for the high impact scenario, 98 per cent of European cities could see worse droughts in the future.
‘Although southern European regions are adapted to cope with droughts, this level of change could be beyond breaking point,’ Dr Selma Guerreiro, lead author, said.
‘Furthermore, most cities have considerable changes in more than one hazard which highlights the substantial challenge cities face in managing climate risks.’
Even the most optimistic prediction, 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.
Central European cities will see the greatest increase in temperature during heatwaves – between 2°C (3.6°F) to 7°C (12.6°F) for the low scenario and 8°C (14.4°F) to 14°C (25.2°F) for the high scenario.
For changes in droughts and floods, the cities which are affected depend on the scenario.
For the low impact scenario, drought conditions only intensify in southern European cities while river flooding only worsens in north-western ones.
Of the European capitals, Dublin, Helsinki, Riga, Vilnius and Zagreb are likely to experience the most extreme rise in flooding.
For the high impact scenario, several European cities could see more than 80 per cent increases on peak river flows.
The British Isles has some of the worst overall flood projections. Even in the most optimistic case, 85 per cent of UK cities with a river – including London – are predicted to face increased river flooding (stock image)
That includes Santiago de Compostela in Spain, Cork and Waterford in Ireland, Braga and Barcelos in Portugal and Derry / Londonderry in the UK.
Stockholm and Rome could see the greatest increase in number of heat-wave days while Prague and Vienna could see the greatest increase in maximum temperatures during heat-waves.
Lisbon and Madrid are in the top capital cities for increases in frequency and magnitude of droughts, while Athens, Nicosia, Valleta and Sofia might experience the worst increases in both drought and heatwaves.
The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recognised the important role cites must play in tackling climate change and next month will hold its first Cities and Climate Change Science Conference, in Edmonton, Canada.
‘A key objective for this conference is to bring together and catalyse action from researchers, policy makers and industry to address the urgent issue of preparing our cities, their population, buildings and infrastructure for climate change,’ said Professor Richard Dawson, co-author and lead investigator of the study, who sits on the Scientific Steering Committee for the IPCC Conference.
‘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 our capital cities.
‘In Paris the Seine rose more than four metres (13 feet) above its normal water level.
‘And as Cape Town prepares for its taps to run dry, this analysis highlights that such climate events are feasible in European cities too.’