Extreme Cold



18 Extreme cold


Climate change causes extreme weather conditions. Warming of the Arctic in wintertime can affect Europe’s climate via weakened jet stream and wind stream. Cold waves have direct effects on human health and can result in higher mortality. Cities should be prepared for extreme cold and take it into account during urban planning.


Due to increased global warming, the number of people exposed to extreme cold events will decrease significantly in all European countries in the next decades according to the latest studies. These projections suggest that southern and northern European countries will experience the highest decrease in extreme cold events. Consequently, older people and those who suffer from energy poverty are more vulnerable to extreme cold weather.

Extreme cold winter can be explained by Arctic Oscillation. If high-pressure air over the Arctic pushes the cold air to the south, it results in a very cold and snowy winter season. This phenomenon will happen from time to time in the future despite global warming. Scientists claim that the accelerated warming of the Artic is linked to extreme cold winter in the U.S.A. This type of change at the Arctic can boost the chances of extreme events such as powerful snowfalls in and beyond the U.S., e.g., in Canada or Asia.

Cities still need to be prepared for cold winters and ensure the necessary energy supply for citizens. Energy security is among the highest-priority safety questions, thus, a complex energy mix based on locally available renewable energy sources and energy-efficient retrofitting of the buildings is required to decrease our energy dependency from fossil fuels and changing extreme weather.