12.5.1 Water resources
Climate change will pose two major water management challenges in Europe: increasing water stress mainly in southeastern Europe, and increasing risk of floods throughout most of the continent. Adaptation options to cope with these challenges are well-documented (IPCC, 2001). The main structural measures to protect against floods are likely to remain reservoirs and dykes in highland and lowland areas respectively (Hooijer et al., 2004). However, other planned adaptation options are becoming more popular such as expanded floodplain areas (Helms et al., 2002), emergency flood reservoirs (Somlyódy, 2002), preserved areas for flood water (Silander et al., 2006), and flood warning systems, especially for flash floods. Reducing risks may have substantial costs.
To adapt to increasing water stress the most common and planned strategies remain supply-side measures such as impounding rivers to form in-stream reservoirs (Santos et al., 2002; Iglesias et al., 2005). However, new reservoir construction is being increasingly constrained in Europe by environmental regulations (Barreira, 2004) and high investment costs (Schröter et al., 2005). Other supply-side approaches such as wastewater reuse and desalination are being more widely considered but their popularity is reduced by health concerns related to using wastewater (Geres, 2004) and the high energy costs of desalination (Iglesias et al., 2005). Some planned demand-side strategies are also feasible (AEMA, 2002), such as household, industrial and agricultural water conservation, the reduction of leaky municipal and irrigation water systems (Donevska and Dodeva, 2004; Geres, 2004), and water pricing (Iglesias et al., 2005). Irrigation water demand may be reduced by introducing crops more suitable to the changing climate. As is the case for the supply-side approaches, most demand-side approaches are not specific to Europe. An example of a unique European approach to adapting to water stress is that regional and watershed-level strategies to adapt to climate change are being incorporated into plans for integrated water management (Kabat et al., 2002; Cosgrove et al., 2004; Kashyap, 2004) while national strategies are being designed to fit into existing governance structures (Donevska and Dodeva, 2004).
Strategies for adapting to sea-level rise are well documented (Smith et al., 2000; IPCC, 2001; Vermaat et al., 2005). Although a large part of Europe's coastline is relatively robust to sea-level rise (Stone and Orford, 2004), exceptions are the subsiding, geologically 'soft', low-lying coasts with high populations, as in the southern North Sea and coastal plains/deltas of the Mediterranean, Caspian and Black Seas. Adaptation strategies on low-lying coasts have to address the problem of sediment loss from marshes, beaches and dunes (de Groot and Orford, 2000; Devoy et al., 2000). The degree of coastal erosion that may result from sea-level rise is very uncertain (Cooper and
Pilkey, 2004), though feedback processes in coastal systems do provide a means of adaptation to such changes (Devoy, 2007). Modelling changes in coastal sediment flux under climate warming scenarios shows some 'soft' coasts responding with beach retreat rates of >40 m/100 years, contrasting with gains in others by accretion of about 10 m/100 years (Walkden and Hall, 2005; Dickson et al., 2007).
The development of adaptation strategies for coastal systems has been encouraged by an increase in public and scientific awareness of the threat of climate change to coastlines (Nicholls and Klein, 2004). Many countries in north-west Europe have adopted the approach of developing detailed shoreline management plans that link adaptation measures with shoreline defence, accommodation and retreat strategies (Cooper et al., 2002; Defra, 2004b; Hansom et al., 2004). Parts of the Mediterranean and eastern European regions have been slower to follow this pattern and management approaches are more fragmented (Tol et al., 2007).
A key element of adaptation strategies for coastlines is the development of new laws and institutions for managing coastal land (de Groot and Orford, 2000; Devoy, 2007). For example, no EU Directive exists for coastal management, although EU member governments were required to develop and publish coastal policy statements by 2006. The lack of a Directive reflects the complexity of socio-economic issues involved in coastal land use and the difficulty of defining acceptable management strategies for the different residents, users and interest groups involved with the coastal region (Vermaat et al., 2005).
Mountainous and sub-Arctic regions have only a limited number of adaptation options. In northern Europe it will become necessary to factor in the dissipation and eventual disappearance of permafrost in infrastructure planning (Nelson, 2003) and building techniques (Mazhitova et al., 2004). There are few obvious adaptation options for either tundra or alpine vegetation. It may be possible to preserve many alpine species in managed gardens at high elevation since many mountain plants are likely to survive higher temperatures if they are not faced with competition from other plants (Guisan and Theurillat, 2005). However, this option remains very uncertain because the biotic factors determining the distribution of mountain plant species are not well known. Another minimal adaptation option is the reduction of other stresses on high elevation ecosystems, e.g., by lessening the impact of tourism (EEA, 2004b). Specific management strategies have yet to be defined for mountain forests (Price, 2005).
12.5.4 Forests, shrublands and grasslands
Since forests are managed intensively in Europe, there is a wide range of available management options that can be employed to adapt forests to climate change. General strategies for adaptation include changing the species composition of forest stands and planting forests with genetically improved seedlings adapted to a new climate (if the risk of genetically modified species is considered acceptable) (KSLA, 2004). Extending the rotation period of commercially important tree species may increase sequestration and/or the storage of carbon, and can be viewed as an adaptation measure (Kaipainen et al., 2004). Adaptive forest management could substantially decrease the risk of forest destruction by wind and other extreme weather events (Linder, 2000; Olofsson and Blennow 2005; Thurig et al., 2005). Strategies for coniferous forests include the planting of deciduous trees better adapted to the new climate as appropriate, and the introduction of multi-species planting into currently mono-species coniferous plantations (Fernando and Cortina, 2004; Gordienko and Gordienko, 2005).
Adaptation strategies need to be specific to different parts of Europe. The range of alternatives is constrained, among other factors, by the type of forest. Forests that are already moisture limited (Mediterranean forests) or temperature limited (boreal forests) will have greater difficulty in adapting to climate change than other forests, e.g., in central Europe (Gracia et al., 2005). Fire protection will be important in Mediterranean and boreal forests and includes the replacement of highly flammable species, regulation of age-class distributions, and widespread management of accumulated fuel, eventually through prescribed burning (Baeza et al., 2002; Fernandes and Botelho, 2004). Public education, development of advanced systems of forest inventories, and forest health monitoring are important prerequisites of adaptation and mitigation.
Productive grasslands are closely linked to livestock production. Dairy and cattle farming may become less viable because of climate risks to fodder production and therefore grasslands could be converted to cropland or other uses (Holman et al., 2005). Grassland could be adapted to climate change by changing the intensity of cutting and grazing, or by irrigating current dryland pastures (Riedo et al., 2000). Another option is to take advantage of continuing abandonment of cropland in Europe (Rounsevell et al., 2005) to establish new grassland areas.
Better management practices are needed to compensate for possible climate-related increases in nutrient loading to aquatic ecosystems from cultivated fields in northern Europe (Ragab and Prudhomme, 2002; Viner et al., 2006). These practices include 'optimised' fertiliser use and (re-)establishment of wetland areas and river buffer zones as sinks for nutrients (Olesen et al., 2004). New wetlands could also dampen the effects of increased frequency of flooding. A higher level of treatment of domestic and industrial sewage and reduction in farmland areas can further reduce nutrient loadings to surface waters and also compensate for climate-related increases in these loadings. Practical possibilities for adaptation in northern wetlands are limited and may only be realised as part of integrated landscape management including the minimisation of unregulated anthropogenic pressure, avoiding the physical destruction of surface and applying appropriate technologies for infrastructure development on permafrost (Ivanov and Maximov, 2003). Protection of drained peatlands against fire in European Russia is an important regional problem which requires the restoration of drainage systems and the regulation of water regimes in such territories (Zeidelman and Shvarov, 2002).
In southern Europe, to compensate for increased climate-related risks (lowering of the water table, salinisation, eutrophication, species loss) (Williams, 2001; Zalidas et al., 2002), a lessening of the overall human burden on water resources is needed. This would involve stimulating water saving in agriculture, relocating intensive farming to less environmentally sensitive areas and reducing diffuse pollution, increasing the recycling of water, increasing the efficiency of water allocation among different users, favouring the recharge of aquifers and restoring riparian vegetation, among others (Alvarez Cobelas et al., 2005).
Climate change threatens the assumption of static species ranges which underpins current conservation policy. The ability of countries to meet the requirements of EU Directives and other international conventions is likely to be compromised by climate change, and a more dynamic strategy for conservation is required for sustaining biodiversity (Araujo et al., 2004; Brooker and Young, 2005; Robinson et al., 2005; Harrison et al., 2006). Conservation strategies relevant to climate change can take at least two forms: in situ involving the selection, design and management of conservation areas (protected areas, nature reserves, NATURA 2000 sites, wider countryside), and ex situ involving conservation of germplasm in botanical gardens, museums and zoos. A mixed strategy is the translocation of species into new regions or habitats (e.g., Edgar et al., 2005). In Europe, appropriate in situ and ex situ conservation measures for mitigating climate change impacts have not yet been put in place. Conservation experts have concluded that an expansion of reserve areas will be necessary to conserve species in Europe. For example, Hannah et al. (2007) calculated that European protected areas need to be increased by 18% to meet the EU goal of providing conditions by which 1,200 European plant species can continue thriving in at least 100 km2 of habitat. To meet this goal under climate change they estimated that the current reserve area must be increased by 41%. They also point out that it would be more cost effective to expand protected areas proactively rather than waiting for climate change impacts to occur and then acting reactively. Dispersal corridors for species are another important adaptation tool (Williams et al., 2005), although large heterogeneous reserves that maximise microclimate variability might sometimes be a suitable alternative. Despite the importance of modifying reserve areas, some migratory species are vulnerable to loss of habitat outside Europe (e.g., Viner et al., 2006). For these migratory species, trans-continental conservation policies need to be put in place.
Short-term adaptation of agriculture in southern Europe may include changes in crop species (e.g., replacing winter with spring wheat) (Minguez et al., 2007), cultivars (higher drought resistance and longer grain-filling) (Richter and Semenov,
2005) or sowing dates (Olesen et al., 2007). Introducing new crops and varieties are also an alternative for northern Europe (Hildén et al., 2005), even if this option may be limited by soil fertility, e.g., in northern Russia. A feasible long-term adaptation measure is to change the allocation of agricultural land according to its changing suitability under climate change. Large-scale abandonment of cropland in Europe estimated under the SRES scenarios (Rounsevell et al., 2006) may provide an opportunity to increase the cultivation of bioenergy crops (Schröter et al., 2005). Moreover, Schröter et al. (2005) and Berry et al. (2006) found that different types of agricultural adaptation (intensification, extensification and abandonment) may be appropriate under different IPCC SRES scenarios and at different locations. It is indisputable that the reform of EU agricultural policies will be an important vehicle for encouraging European agriculture to adapt to climate change (Olesen and Bindi, 2002) and for reducing the vulnerability of the agricultural sector (Metzger et al., 2006).
At the small scale there is evidence that fish and shellfish farming industries are adapting their technology and operations to changing climatic conditions, for example, by expanding offshore and selecting optimal culture sites for shellfish cages (Pérez et al., 2003). However, adaptation is more difficult for smaller coastal-based fishery businesses which do not have the option to sail long distances to new fisheries as compared to larger businesses with long distance fleets. At the larger scale, adaptation options have not yet been considered in important policy institutions such as the European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) although its production quotas and technical measures provide an ideal platform for such adaptation actions. Another major adaptation option is to factor the long-term potential impacts of climate change into the planning for new Marine Protected Areas (Soto, 2001). Adaptation strategies should eventually be integrated into comprehensive plans for managing coastal areas of Europe. However, these plans are lacking, especially around the Mediterranean, and need to be developed urgently (Coccossis, 2003).
A wide variety of adaptation measures are available in the energy sector ranging from the redesign of the energy supply system to the modification of human behaviour (Santos et al., 2002). The sensitivity of European energy systems to climate change could be reduced by enhancing the interconnection capacity of electricity grids and by using more decentralised electric generation systems and local micro grids (Arnell et al.,
2005). Another type of adaptation would be to reduce the exposure of energy users and producers to impacts of unfavourable climate through the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, for example by reducing overall energy use. This can be accomplished through various energy conservation measures such as energy-saving building codes and low-electricity standards for new appliances, increasing energy prices and through training and public education. Over the medium to long term, shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy use will be an effective adaptive measure (Hanson et al.,
Clearly, one aspect of adaptation may be through measures to mitigate emissions from transport through cleaner technologies and adapting behaviour (National Assessment Synthesis Team, 2001; AEAT, 2003; Highways Agency, 2005a). There is clearly a need for capacity building in the response to incidents, risk assessments, developments in maintenance, renewal practice and design standards for new infrastructure (Highways Agency, 2005b; Mayor of London, 2005). Assessment of the costs and benefits of adapting existing infrastructure or raising standards in the design of new vehicles and infrastructure to improve system resilience and reliability to the range of potential impacts should consider the wider economic and social impacts of disruption to the transport system.
A variety of adaptation measures are available to the tourism industry (WTO, 2003, Hanson et al., 2006). Regarding winter tourism, compensating for reduced snowfall by artificial snowmaking is already common practice for coping with year-to-year snow pack variability. However, this adaptation strategy is likely to be economic only in the short term, or in the case of very high elevation resorts in mountain regions, and may be ecologically undesirable. New leisure industries, such as grass-skiing or hiking could compensate for any income decrease experienced by the ski industry due to snow deterioration (Fukushima et al., 2002). Regarding coastal tourism, the protection of resorts from sea-level rise may be feasible by constructing barriers or by moving tourism infrastructure further back from the coast (Pinnegar et al., 2006). In the Mediterranean region, the likely reduction of tourism during the hotter summer months may be compensated for by promoting changes in the temporal pattern of seaside tourism, for example by encouraging visitors during the cooler months (Amelung and Viner, 2006). The increasing, new climate-related risks to health, availability of water, energy demand and infrastructure are likely to be dealt with through efficient cooperation with local governments. Another adaptive measure for European tourism, in general, is promoting new forms of tourism such as eco-tourism or cultural tourism and placing greater emphasis on man-made rather than natural attractions, which are less sensitive to weather conditions (Hanson et al., 2006). It is also likely that people will adapt autonomously and reactively by changing their recreation and travel behaviour in response to the new climatic conditions (Sievanen et al., 2005).
The insurance industry has several approaches for adapting to the growing climate-related risk to property. These include raising the cost of insurance premiums, restricting or removing coverage, reinsurance and improved loss remediation (Dlugolecki, 2001). Insurers are beginning to use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to provide information needed to adjust insurance tariffs to climate-related risks (Dlugolecki, 2001; Munich Re, 2004) although the uncertainty of future climate change is an obvious problem in making these adjustments. Insurers are also involved in discussions of measures for climate change mitigation and adaptation, including measures such as more stringent control of flood-plain development and remedial measures for damages derived from weather action and extreme events (ABI, 2000; Dlugolecki and Keykhah, 2002).
An obvious adaptation measure against property damage is to improve construction techniques so that buildings and infrastructure are more robust to extreme climate events. However, even if building techniques are immediately improved, the benefits will not be instantaneous because current building stock has a long remaining lifetime. Hence these buildings would not be replaced for many years by more resilient structures unless they are retrofitted. While retrofitting can be an effective adaptation measure it also has drawbacks. Costs are often high, residents are disrupted and poor enforcement of building regulations and construction practices could lead to unsatisfactory results.
12.5.11 Human Health temperatures of 35 to 40°C were repeatedly recorded and peak temperatures climbed well above 40°C (André et al., 2004; Beniston and Díaz, 2004).
Average summer (June to August) temperatures were far above the long-term mean by up to five standard deviations (Figure 12.4), implying that this was an extremely unlikely event under current climatic conditions (Schär and Jendritzky, 2004). However, it is consistent with a combined increase in mean temperature and temperature variability (Meehl and Tebaldi, 2004; Pal et al., 2004; Schär et al., 2004) (Figure 12.4). As such, the 2003 heatwave resembles simulations by regional climate models of summer temperatures in the latter part of the 21st century under the A2 scenario (Beniston, 2004). Anthropogenic warming may therefore already have increased the risk of heatwaves such as the one experienced in 2003 (Stott et al., 2004).
The heatwave was accompanied by annual precipitation deficits up to 300 mm. This drought contributed to the estimated 30% reduction in gross primary production of terrestrial ecosystems over Europe (Ciais et al., 2005). This
Risks posed by weather extremes are the most important in terms of requiring society's preparedness (Ebi, 2005; Hassi and Rytkönen, 2005; Menne, 2005; Menne and Ebi, 2006). Primary adaptation measures to heatwaves include the development of health early warning systems and preventive emergency plans (Garssen et al., 2005; Nogueira et al., 2005; Pirard et al., 2005). Many European countries and cities have developed such measures, especially after the summer of 2003 (Koppe et al., 2004; Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo, 2004; Menne, 2005; see also Chapter 8 Box 8.1). Other measures are aimed at the mitigation of 'heat islands' through urban planning, the adaptation of housing design to local climate and expanding air conditioning, shifts in work patterns and mortality monitoring (Keatinge et al., 2000; Ballester et al., 2003; Johnson et al., 2005; Marttila et al., 2005; Penning-Rowsell et al., 2005).
Principal strategies to lessen the risks of flooding include public flood warning systems, evacuations from lowlands, waterproof assembling of hospital equipment and the establishment of decision hierarchies between hospitals and administrative authorities (Ohl and Tapsell, 2000; Hajat et al., 2003; EEA, 2004b; WHO, 2004; Hedger, 2005; Marttila et al., 2005; Penning-Rowsell et al., 2005).
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