Portugal could suffer two months of heatwaves every year, according to a new report on world climate change from the European Environmental Agency. The report predicts that temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius or more could fall on as many as 60 or 70 days every year in the not too distant future. Currently, the country only records such temperatures on an average of 10 to 15 days a year.
The report warns that global warming will be more accentuated in Europe than in the rest of the world. This century, the average increase in temperature in the world is expected to be between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees, but, in Europe, temperatures are predicted to increase by anything from two to 6.3 degrees. “Europe is heating up more rapidly than the rest of the world. The temperature here has increased by an average of 0.95 degrees over the last century and, this century, there will be a continuing emission of gases, leading to a more pronounced greenhouse effect,” says the report.
The agency also notes that global warming during the 20th century was more marked in Europe than the rest of the world. While Europe registered an average increase of 0.95 degrees, other continents recorded an average increase of 0.7 degrees.
Global warming will also be more apparent in southern European countries, such as Portugal, Spain and Italy. But rainfall is expected to increase in northern European countries, along with a decrease in sunshine.
The European Agency report analysed eight areas affected by climactic alterations and global warming: atmosphere and climate, glaciers and ice, maritime systems, bio-diversity, water, agriculture, economy and human health.
“Storms, floods, droughts and other extreme meteorological conditions are becoming more frequent and more severe. Heatwaves will also become more frequent, endangering the health of the elderly,” say the authors.
But the news is not totally bleak. In the meantime, the report points out that “alterations in climate could have some positive effects”. The document says that agriculture in most of Europe could benefit from a moderate increase in temperature and that “the survival rate of certain species of hibernating birds could increase as winter temperatures rise”.