Climate impact indicator themes
Climate changeClimate change
Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings such as modulations of the solar cycles, volcanic eruptions and persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use. Note that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines climate change as: 'a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods'. The UNFCCC thus makes a distinction between climate change attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition, and climate variability attributa is projected to lead to significant changes in precipitation and temperature patterns across Europe. The general picture is that winter precipitation amounts will increase in Northern Europe and summer precipitation amounts will decrease in Southern Europe. It can further be expected that climate change trendstrends
long-term evolution, such as climate change and global warming. Trend analysis is used to describe trends, and can involve linear or multiple regression with time as a covariate. A trend model may be a straight line (linear) or more complex (polynomial), and the long-term rate of change can be described in terms of the time derivative from the trend model. will include more frequent heat waves, along with periods of drought resulting in (severe) water shortages in (southern) Europe affecting crops and people. Paradoxically, also increased occurrence of extreme summer rainfall events are expected, and already happening. Urban drainage systems and agricultural land where drainage converges may not always be able to cope with flooding following such rainfall, affecting livelihood, infrastructure and economy. More frequent heat waves are expected to exacerbate the urban heat island effect in cities, resulting in health problems, much (economic) distress and increased energy use for cooling. As a result of climate change, the meteorological suitability for many plant and animal species will change, resulting in changes of ecosystems and agricultural systems alike. While in the short run most of these effects will be negative, climate change impacts can also be beneficial in some places and for some sectors. Elsewhere climate change can be well-anticipated with clever adaptive action.
Thus, for a wide range of situations, it is important to be able to assess possible impacts of climate change in an effective and trustworthy way, through tailor-made indicators. The CLIPC toolboxes enable derivation of such indicators by both specialists and beginners. Expected impacts will be different in urban and rural environments, while impacts associated with water present their own issues.
Click on one of the themes below for more information: