One of the greatest threats to human beings is climate change. Predictions indicate that our environmental conditions will change with increasing speed in the coming years with one of the most significant changes being a warming of the global climate. However, although there will be warming on the global scale there will be large regional variations in climate that will affect various parts of the world differently. In fact, Europe is maybe the most sensitive region of the world and it is not known whether we will experience regional cooling or warming in a future warmer world. However, most likely, global warming will change the living conditions in Europe significantly.The weather will show more extreme conditions, like flooding and hurricanes, and the population distribution will change. The best natural indicator of global warming is the cryosphere, i.e. masses of sea-ice, snow, and glaciers. The Euro-Arctic ice cover and high-mountain seasonal snow cover should be monitored in order to continuously assess the climatic health of Europe. Observations already indicate that the Arctic may be free of sea ice in summer within 50-100 years. Therefore, it is of great importance to monitor the cryosphere in order to make updated predictions and be able to take the necessary measures in time to limit the consequences to European citizens. One example of a measure that is needed when the climate changes is national building codes that prescribe characteristic loads (e.g., snow and wind). In summary, Europe itself should be concerned with the fate of the Euro-Arctic cryosphere, for in this respect, the Arctic/sub-Arctic "tail may wag the mid-latitude dog."

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The European Commission