NU Online News Service, March 4, 3:00 p.m. EST

Rising global temperatures may increase the severity of storms to hit Europe, warns Peter Hoeppe, who heads Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research Department.

In an interview with Germany-based radio broadcaster Radio Bremen, Mr. Hoeppe cited an increasing danger of natural catastrophes which he links to global warming.

He said that in the last few years in Germany there has been a larger number of extreme rainstorms and flash flooding has led to significant damages and hence to greater losses.

Earlier climate scenarios that have been developed have shown this trend and Mr. Hoeppe said he expects an increase in the number and severity of these disasters.

He mentioned as another example, the storm that swept over Madeira in Portugal on Feb 20.

According to the scientist, European cities with large populations can expect to record more damage if hit by extreme weather events.

The climate change’s effects are felt drastically in big cities, he explained. On the one hand, the warming increases as it adds up to the inner-city warmth from built up construction, explained Mr. Hoeppe. On the other hand, he continued, if an extreme weather event hits a city there is more to be damaged, and thus losses will increase.