KLIFF - Climate impact and adaptation research in Lower Saxony

Background and Goals

KLIFF is an interdisciplinary research cooperation in which scientists from the fields of agriculture and forestry, biology, geography, engineering, marine research, meteorology, spatial planning, social sciences and economics work together to establish adaptation strategies for dealing with the effects of the climate change.

In the diverse natural and economic areas of Lower Saxony, the expected climate change will manifest itself in very different ways. The development of adaptation strategies for dealing with the climate change requires a differentiated spatial and temporal analysis of the climate change its effects, taking into account ecological and social references.

The aim of KLIFF is to increase the necessary knowledge base on the effects of of the climate change, in order to develop sustainable adaptation strategies and show ways in which these can be implemented.

The peculiarity of KLIFF lies in its region-specific integrated approach, whereby interdisciplinary work of solution concepts are developed for selected regions of Lower Saxony affected by climate change. The project focuses on the three major sectors of agriculture, forestry and water management, as well as coastal protection. An important feature of KLIFF is the integration of applied and foundational research, as well as the inclusion of practice experience.

As model regions, the coastal areas of the Aller-Leine catchment area, as well as the Harz and Heath areas were selected.

Content time


Research area/region

  • Germany
Region of implementation (all German federal states)
  • Lower Saxony
Natural spatial classification
  • coasts: North Sea-/Baltic Sea coasts
  • North-West German lowland
  • West German lowland bay
  • Central low mountain ranges and Harz
Spatial resolution 

Lüneburg Heath, Harz mountain range, Aller-Leine valley, North Sea coast

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 

The climate scenarios A1B, A2, B1 and B2 are used, with the focus on scenario A1B.

Parameter (climate signals)
  • Altered rainfall patterns
  • Higher average temperatures
  • Sea level rise und storm surges
Time horizon
  • medium term = to 2050
  • long term = to 2100 and beyond

Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact

Approach and results 

The project encompasses:

  • Consequences of climate change on crops, milk and beef production in agriculture,
  • Influence of temperature change and extreme weather events on forest ecosystems, forest landscapes, and forestry.
  • Impact of climate change on water supply, flood risk and water pollution, as well as the optimization of coastal and island protection.

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

Recommendations for action and adaptation measures will be developed in the course of the project for research topics: The aim is to develop strategies for the sustainable management of climate change impacts in the areas of agriculture, forestry and water management, as well as consequences for spatial planning.

Time horizon
  • 2036–2065
  • 2071–2100 (far future)


Funding / Financing 

Ministry for Economic Affairs and Culture of Lower Saxony

Project management 

Universität Göttingen


University of Göttingen, Forest Ecosystems Research Center (FZW),

Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research (AWI),

Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (ARL),

University of Hanover,

Technical University of Braunschweig, research centre of Lower Saxony Water Management, Coastal Defence and Nature Conservation Agency (NLWKN),

German National Meteorological Service,

Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences,

Friedrich Loeffler Institute,

GKSS Research Centre Geesthacht,

Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute,

Julius Kühn Institute,

Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Northwest German Forest Research Institute, region of Hanover,

University of Veterinary Medicine, Hanover,

University of Kassel,

University of Kiel,

University of Lüneburg,

University of Oldenburg,

University of Rostock


Universität Göttingen
Forschungszentrum Waldökosysteme
Büsgenweg 2
D-37077 Göttingen

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Fields of action:
 agriculture  biological diversity  coastal and marine protection  soil  spatial planning, urban and settlement development  tourism industry  water regime and water management  woodland and forestry