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Climate change impact assessment

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) aims to develop knowledge and tools in support of the EU Climate Change Policy. In view of this, an important research topic of the Land Management and Natural Hazards Unit of the Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) is to assess the physical and socio-economic impacts of global warming on hydrological extremes and on water resources availability in Europe.



Flood hazard - physical impact assessment

Global warming is projected to intensify the hydrological cycle and increase the magnitude and frequency of intense precipitation events in most parts of Europe. Within this activity we assess how future climate developments may impact flood hazard across Europe. 

Change in average flood magnitude with 100-year recurrence interval between 1961-1990 and 2071-2100 for SRES A2 scenario. The average is derived from an ensemble of climate predictions (see Dankers and Feyen, 2009)
Map of flood damage potential in Europe Legend of flood damage potential in Europe

Flood risk - assessment of socio-economic impacts

Floods can result in huge economic losses. We evaluate the implications of climate change for future flood risk in Europe by integrating the physical impact results with information on flood defences, land use and impact.

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Streamflow droughts


Recent developments in climate modeling suggest that global warming is likely to favour conditions for the development of droughts in many regions of Europe, especially in southern parts of Europe. Within this action we evaluate the impact of climate change on streamflow droughts, with a focus on changes in minimum flows and streamflow deficits.

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Water resources


River flow is a measure of sustainable fresh water availability in a basin. In this activity we assess how changes in temperature and precipitation patterns due to global warming modify the distribution of water at the land surface, and consequently the annual water budget of river basins as well as the timing or seasonality of river flows.

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This section provides a schematic overview of the methodology developed at the JRC to evaluate the impact of changes in climate and socio-economic drivers on the hydrological cycle at the European scale.

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Others activities


The European Database of Vulnerabilities (EVDAB) for urban areas collects and integrates relevant datasets dealing with exposure and vulnerability to weather-driven hazards, grouped according to selected themes or morphological features. In its initial stage of development, the EVDAB focuses on 305 urban areas in Europe. It will be extended to include additional urban areas and also cover areas other than cities in successive phases of implementation.

Read more about EVDAB





Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 09:16