Predicting climate change impacts

Global warming may have far reaching effects on Europe and the rest of the world. An EU-funded initiative is identifying and quantifying the impacts and best strategies for responding to a changing environment.

The EU's objective of limiting global warming to a maximum 2 °C rise must be underpinned by the best available science to predict possible impacts. The IMPACT2C (Quantifying projected impacts under 2 °C warming) initiative therefore provided a clearer picture of climate change impacts and cost.

A range of computer models determined the effect of a warming climate on factors such as water, energy, agriculture, infrastructure and health. The IMPACT2C consortium collated all available climate data for the whole of Europe. In addition, climate change patterns based on existing multi-model simulations were identified.

Project partners introduced a number of innovations such as the use of harmonised socioeconomic scenarios to determine impacts and adaptation. The initiative also had a core theme of uncertainty; therefore, methods for integrated uncertainties assessments and their implications in different sectors were developed. A modelling framework for Europe's water resources and a protocol for the comparison of hydrological and water impact models was created.

IMPACT2C also focused on a comprehensive assessment of the impacts and costs of a temperature increase of 2 °C on forestry, agriculture and ecosystem services. In addition, the consortium developed an air quality modelling strategy and conducted simulations of the atmospheric pollutants ozone, nitrogen dioxide and particulates.

Innovative aspects of IMPACT2C include the use of harmonised socioeconomic assumptions to ensure that individual assessments were aligned with the 2 °C scenario for both impacts and adaptation. They also ensured that they were compatible between sectors.

In addition to a number of European case studies, the project assessed climate change impact in selected representative areas that are especially vulnerable to climate change. These include Bangladesh, two regions of Africa (Nile and Niger basins), and the Maldives.

The project drew all this information together to report and highlight the risks, trade-offs, synergies and costs involved in global warming. A web atlas was produced that will be especially useful for European authorities participating in international negotiations on climate change.

The IMPACT2C project will therefore provide easily accessible climate-related information to policymakers, the media and other interested parties.

last modification: 2015-09-21 15:23:03

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