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A new study collected climatic data from 38 countries over 50 years

Climate change has already arrived as more flooding is being seen in Europe.

Many citizens continue to link climate change to higher temperatures, but as this new research shows, its effect reach much further among them the increasing threat of natural disasters. Science magazine reports global warming has already modified the seasons of the year, with rivers bursting their banks to cause flooding in Europe, earlier in some regions and later in others.

In some zones, drastic changes have already happened to local ecosystems, agriculture, and energy generation. Globally flooded rives are the natural disasters which affect most people in the world – causing a financial loss of some 104 billion dollars a year, and with greater economic growth leading to more climate change, it’s feared future costs could be astronomic in the near future.

Günter Blöschi of the Vienna Technical University led the research and compiled a list of variables – precipitation, land and air humidity, snow, and man’s influences.
‘If we only take into account the massive flooding seen in Europe, the role of climate change can be masked by other affects, generally man made – excessive building, agriculture and deforestation add to the probability of floods’, noted a press release.

His investigation was based on data analysis from 4,262 weather stations in 38 European countries over 50 years (1960-2010).

The largest effects of climatic change were noted in eastern Europe, along the coast of the North Atlantic, from Portugal to England where 50% of the stations showed more floods in less than 15 days (over the 50 years) and of them 25% registered changes after 36 days.

In some areas of the Mediterranean coast, – NW Spain and NW of the Adriatic coast – show flooding is delayed (50% showing delays of more than five days. Later flooding also in the North Sea, SW Norway, Holland, Denmark and Scotland (50% of the station recorded delays longer than eight days)

To clarify the concrete reasons for measured climatic change, the scientists centred on six places where the change in climate has been the greatest – watching the changing of the four seasons and the variables most influential – precipitations, ground humidity and snow. ‘The period of the year when flooding is first detected offers most possible cause’ said Blöschi. Delayed flooding in the Mediterranean basin is caused by warmer sea temperatures.

Elsewhere, in the south of Sweden and Finland the Baltic countries where flooding is caused by melting snow accelerated during Spring, causing higher local temperatures and less influence from the masses of Arctic air. This is now happening in March, a month before the 60’s and 70’s when normally April. ‘This due to the earlier melting snow as consequence of global warming’ said the scientist.

If this tendency continues, warned the scientists, the global environmental and economic impact from the flooding could provoke changes in the ecosystems as nature adapts to the climate during the year.

Sooner or later this will lead to smaller harvests on determined crops, caused by a lack of water available for irrigating and also from the erosion of the soil for being dried out. Hydraulic energy production would fall and in extremity endangering the supply of drinking water.