The global effects of climate change

Around the world, climate change would cause greater risks from rising sea levels, flooding, droughts, food shortages, diseases, water shortages and loss of tropical forests.

Southern Europe and the Mediterranean Basin are the most vulnerable regions in Europe, and mountain areas (in particular the Alps), islands, coastal regions and densely populated floodplains are facing serious consequences.

Outside Europe, developing countries (especially small island states) will be at great risk. The danger of flooding will become increasingly severe for low-lying countries like Egypt, Bangladesh and Thailand.

According to the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007, we could expect to see continued melting of ice caps, glaciers and sea ice, significant changes in rainfall patterns and possibly more intense tropical cyclones such as hurricanes.

Flooding will contaminate drinking water, expose people to toxic pollutants and make the delivery of health and social services more difficult. Droughts will increase the risk of water shortages. Food and water shortages could lead to conflict and migration.

Read about the effects of climate change on the developing world.

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Ursula Rakova on climate change

Ursula Rakova, resident of the Carteret Islands, Papua New Guinea, talking about the effects of climate change on her island.

Met Office interactive map

‘Effects of climate change’ map

See what might happen if the Earth warms by 4°C above the pre-industrial climate average with the Met Office’s interactive climate change map.