Background and Goals
Climate change is already happening and brings unavoidable impacts to which it needs to be adapted to. The accumulation of extreme weather events affects regions differently. Expected consequences on the economy and society must not be underestimated. An active dealing with the consequences of climate change is important to keep regions safe and competitive in the future.
This research project has been investigating how to deal with the consequences of climate change in Southern Hesse. A regional network of stakeholders from the Starkenburg region has been built up, which deals actively with the adaptation to the climate change in the region. The objective, within the network of stakeholders, is to develop future-oriented steps for adaptation to various action areas such as the building industry, agriculture and forestry, tourism and the health sector. Furthermore, in the second phase, the interface work will be expanded and, in a pilot area, an adaptation concept plus initial concrete adaptation measures will be produced and implemented.
Objectives of this project are the preparation of the Starkenburg region for the climate change, the minimisation and avoidance of potential damages on account of the climate change as well as the sensible use and perception of the arising chances. Therefore the actors in this region should be sensitised for the impacts and adaptation needs of climate change.
- Alp and North Bavarian hills
Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change
Step 1: Understand and describe climate change
Climate models and climate scenarios for regional climate simulations are provided by the service group Adaptation (see Climate Service Center 2.0). Especially climate trends are considered and no specific values. Examples: warmer and wetter winters , hotter and drier summers , increased probability of extreme heat waves in the summer and extreme heavy precipitation va in winter and spring as well as increase in storm events
- Heat waves
- Altered rainfall patterns
- Higher average temperatures
- Extreme precipitation (incl. hail, snow)
- long term = to 2100 and beyond
Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact
Four groups of climate impacts are considered:
- Health: In addition to heat waves as in the hot summer of 2003 storm events, large-scale forest fires and floods act directly on human health as well. Also, the spread of diseases due to improved conditions for pathogens is related to climate change.
- Tourism: When there are higher average annual temperatures in the future as expected, it has a direct impact on the tourism industry, which is in particular of great importance for the Hessian Mountain Road and in the Odenwald.
- Agriculture, forestry and viticulture: consequences of climate change include an altered spectrum of pests in agriculture, forestry and viticulture, and changes in water quality and quantity. Extreme weather events as well as warmer and drier summers on the one hand and milder and more humid winters on the other hand are presently already occurring in Southern Hesse. This has a direct impact on the agriculture, forestry and viticulture.
- Construction sector, water management and planning: temperature increases and extreme weather events have a strong influence on life in town and country. In addition to urban and regional planning also water management (esp. water supplier) is facing new conditions, which should be included in their plans in order to provide residents and with a demand-actuated high quality of water. Flood-prone areas are now particularly encouraged to adapt to changing conditions, in order to create a safe living and working environment for the population.
Step 2b: Identify and assess risks - Vulnerability, risks and chances
The identification of priority and particularly relevant fields is done by stakeholder surveys.
Step 3: Develop and compare measures
Considered adaptation measures in the four thematic groups are:
- Health: As a general lack of information on climate change and health was established measures of a better public relations are a priority(oriented to target groups). This happens for example in the context of health days, contributions in member`s magazines of health insurances or separate flyers that provide information on correct behavior in the heat. The regionalized heat warning system of the German Weather Service, which was introduced as a result of the 2003 summer heatwave in 2004, serves as a good example.
- Tourism: The representatives from the tourism sector, regional development and management see different needs for action for sustainable tourism. Various degrees of vulnerability for the different tourist sectors have been identified. Negative consequences are seen both for winter sports and for health resorts in the Odenwald. Positive consequences are to be expected for summer tourism as well as in the regional swimming and hiking holidays.
- Agriculture, forestry and viticulture: The central point is the change in the seasonal water balance due to climate change and its impact on agricultural production. The farmers and forest managers as well as the wine growers are faced with an increasing water deficit in the region during the summer. In contrast, there is a surplus of water in the fall, winter and spring. In this thematic group strategies are discussed, that can deal with an increasing drought stress during the growing season on the one hand and the increasing precipitation in winter on the other hand.
- Construction sector, water management and planning: Especially at the local level the participant actors see possibilities to implement adaptation measures specifically. Here issues of providing flood protection, storm protection, building precaution, establishment and preservation of fresh air corridors to ensure the urban ventilation and temperature compensation play a role. In addition, ecological ways of construction, for example with sufficient insulation (energy saving in winter, comfort in summer) is seen as a way to adapt the construction to climate change. Here synergies between climate adaptation and mitigation are found. When creating a "Checklist for climate adaptation for municipalities" it became clear that many adaptation measures could be implemented with only little effort and that a lot of the measures are already known.
- beyond 2100 (far future)
Synergies and conflicts between measures for mitigation and measures for adaptation to climate change have been identified.
Step 4: Plan and implement measures
Regarding the necessary adaptation to the climate change and the climate results a need for networks exists to exchange information and establishing contacts between the relevant actors. In addition, future-oriented planning approaches, multiplier effects are required, e. g. by media presence, raising of awareness, forums for consultation opportunities, knowledge about the opportunities for the region, economic implementation strategies and adaptation options in agriculture and regional development.
Objectives of adaptation measures:
- adjustment of management practices and adaptation of the range of products for agriculture, forestry and viticulture;
- construction precaution due to improved spatial planning and adaptation of regional and local planning;
- further development of materials, techniques and designs of buildings for the construction industry;
- decrease of health risks by development of measures to the behavioral precaution as well as by emergency plans and early warning systems in the health sector;
- Determination of the degree of vulnerability of various tourist industries and identifying options for action as well as development of alternative tourist attractions;
- Strengthening of public awareness.
Funding programme “klimazwei – research for climate protection and protection from climate impacts”, Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany
Technische Universität Darmstadt, Fachgebiet Umwelt- und Raumplanung, Institut WAR
Collaboration with stakeholders from the region
Technische Universität Darmstadt
Institut für Wasserversorgung und Grundwasserschutz, Abwassertechnik, Abfalltechnik, Industrielle Stoffkreisläufe, Umwelt- und Raumplanung (WAR)