Summary: Climate change will affect water availability differently in Europe u0096 likely a large decrease in Southern Europe, while an increase in the North. However, the largest increases will be felt where very few people actually live u0096 above 60°N, whereas large populations will be affected by shortages. Indeed, if climate change can be thought of as another u0091consumeru0092 of water, in some countries it will be a larger consumer than current domestic, industrial and agricultural uses combined. Decreases in glacier ice volumes is affecting runoff into rivers in central Europe u0096 only about one third of the ice volume present in the mid-1800s still remained in 2006. Even where there are likely to be annual increases in precipitation, it may not fall at convenient times for agriculture u0096 likely higher in winter and falling during the growing season. While the drought of 2003 caused around u008013 billion in damages and was exceptionally bad, it is not necessarily indicative of a recognisable trend, given natural variability, but is consistent with predictions for the future given climate change. The annual number of reported flood disasters in Europe increased considerably in 1973- 2002. It is likely that land use change, river channel modifications and increased activities in areas vulnerable to floods are probably the most important influences on flooding today. In future there will likely be an increase in flash floods due to heavy precipitation, including in major rivers; coastal flooding will also increase due to more intense storms and sea level rise. With respect to water quality, most climate change impacts can be attributed to changes either in discharge or in water temperature. To a minor degree climate change may also affect the levels of direct atmospheric input of nutrients and other elements to surface waters.
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