What’s causing the extreme weather and flooding in Europe?

Globally, sea levels have increased by around 20cm since 1900 but this could jump to up to 80cm in Europe by the end of the century as global ice caps melt, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA). 

Meanwhile, data shows southern Europe has become drier and hotter, with droughts increasing since the 1950s, and rivers  running lower during the summer months. 

Increased heat has also been attributed to forest fires in parts of the continent where they were previously rare. 

In 2018, more countries suffered forest fires than ever recorded before, including Sweden, which suffered the worst fires in the country’s modern history.

Is it linked to climate change?

The German interior minister on Thursday blamed global warming for the floods.

Speaking with German tabloid Bild, Horst Seehofer said preparation for such events needed to be better as they were likely to be more frequent in future. 

“These extreme weather conditions are the consequences of climate change,” Mr Seehofer said. “We have to prepare much better for this, including when it comes to flood protection.”

Because a warmer atmosphere holds more water, climate change increases the risk and intensity of flooding from extreme rainfall.