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CORDIS Express: Coping with extreme weather events

CORDIS Express looks at research into improving the monitoring and prediction of extreme weather, as well as our capacity to cope with its effects.

Climate change projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) show that in the years to come we will see increases in temperatures across Europe, increases in precipitation in Northern Europe and decreases in precipitation in Southern Europe. We will also see a marked increase in high temperature extremes, droughts and heavy precipitation events. In other words, Europe needs to prepare itself for more frequent and more intense extreme weather events. Increased rainfall and an increase in sea levels may lead to increased flooding in many European countries, especially in low-lying coastal sites and in areas that currently experience high rainfall. Europe has already witnessed the significant damage that floods can cause – between 1998 and 2009, we experienced over 213 major damaging floods which caused some 1 126 deaths, the displacement of about half a million people and at least EUR 52 billion in insured economic losses. Heat waves will also become more common – which is a major problem even in countries accustomed to extreme heat. According to a study by the EuroHEAT project which analysed heat waves in nine European cities, mortality during heat waves ranged from 7.6 % to 33.6 %. The impact of long heat waves (more than four days) was 1.5 to 5 times higher than that of short heat waves. The increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather will have a range of other impacts. Researchers across Europe are working to improve meteorological tools to identify and monitor the development of potentially dangerous weather situations, and help us to improve our capacity to deal with these events as and when they occur. This week’s edition of CORDIS Express takes a look at some of these efforts, as well as weather-related news and events (even from planet Mars!). - Understanding the Earth's magnetic field for precision weather forecasting - How social media can improve emergency service responses - Trending science: High clouds over Mars - what do they tell us? - Second International Conference ‘Geography, Environment and GIS, for students and young researchers’ - Increasing coastal resilience to storms and flooding

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