Background and Goals
Global climate change is also noticeable in Rhineland-Palatina. Various environmental, land use and societal sectors are affected by the impacts of climate change. However, the repercussions are different and specific in each region. The project KlimLandRP will exame the effects, risks and opportunities associated with climate change in Rhineland-Palatinate, and what possible adaptation measures can be derived.
The focus of the project KlimLandRP is on following topics:
- Provide an overview of current climate trends and existing observations/findings;
- Analyze and process regional climate projections;
- Obtain information about future expected consequences and effects of climate change in the various environmental sectors and land use areas;
- Assess risks and (if possible) opportunities of climate change;
- Develop selected/exemplary adaptation measures, and demonstrate routes to decision making in particular for policy consulting on adaptation measures;
- Articulate recognizable need for further research;
The various research questions were addressed in the five interdisciplinary modules on soil, water, agriculture, forests and biodiversity. An integrative stakeholder analysis examined how climate change is perceived by stakeholders and affected parties, which experiences already have already been gained and how the adaptation measures developed in the project are to be evaluated – also with regard to the implementation of the research findings in practice.
- Rhineland Palatinate
- Low mountain ranges left and right of Rhine
- West German lowland bay
Links- und rechtsrheinische Mittelgebirge; Westdeutsche Tieflandsbucht
Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change
Step 1: Understand and describe climate change
The individual modules pursued in the KlimLandRP project are based on previous analyses, in particular the emission scenarios A1B and A2. Both scenarios lie in the upper third of the possible evolution of carbon dioxide. A1B corresponds to a concentration of 850 ppm , A2 to 1250 ppm. Currently, the global CO2 concentration is approximately 390 ppm (as of 2009), whereas 280 ppm were measured in the year 1880. The actual measured level of global fossil carbon emissions has reached or slightly exceeded the level of the scenarios used since 2006.
The reference period 1971-2000 is assumed for the current climate. Forward-looking considerations make reference to the periods 2021-2050 (near future) and 2071-2100 (far future). In order to reflect the variability and to obtain the most reliable statements, several of the available regional models and emission scenarios are used in parallel.
An increase in annual average temperature by 1.1°C from 1901 to 2008 is an indicator of climate change in Rhineland-Palatina. Especially the winter, depending on the region it has become up to 2°C warmer, indicating already considerable changes in environmental conditions. The observed trends will continue also into the future according to the regionalized climate projections.
In Rhineland-Palatina, as in other regions in Germany, the climate will continue to change. It is however also likely that the already known, yet rare situations, such as the summer heatwave of 2003, will become more common or the norm in the future. According to the current trend, there are clear indications of an increase in extreme weather events like heavy precipitation and droughts.
- Heat waves
- Higher average temperatures
- Extreme precipitation (incl. hail, snow)
- Dry periods
Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact
The consequences of climate change for environmental and land use can vary greatly, depending on the extent of the climate changes. Consequently, it is important to map possible climate changes, as well as to identify the associated effects on different areas or sectors. Accordingly, the developed adaptation measures must be diverse and flexible. According to the different emission scenarios, the applied climate model calculations span a range of likely developments.
Step 2b: Identify and assess risks - Vulnerability, risks and chances
Based on regional climate projections and with the help of simulation models, areas have been identified that are vulnerable to climate change now and in future. The goal is to estimate a range of possible climate-related developments for the state of Rhineland-Palatina and assess their implications for different sectors.
Step 3: Develop and compare measures
A variety of base maps were created in the project KlimLandRP that can serve as a basis for planning for adaptation measures. Thus, for example, so-called climate-suitability maps for the five major tree species were developed in the forest module to support future decision making on the choice of tree types. The cards will be considered in future forest planning. At the landscape level, different types of forest tree species and a variety of different blends and origins contribute to the dispersion of risks. In order to give recommendations for a particular forest site, it is nonetheless necessary to consider local expert knowledge and information.
- 2021–2050 (near future)
- 2071–2100 (far future)
The research project is being funded by the Ministry of the Environment of Rhineland-Palatinate and has been allocated a total volume of approx. €1.8 million for 3½ years.
Research Institute for Forest Ecology and Forestry of Rhineland-Palatinate
University of Mainz, Institute for Zoology, Department of Ecology;
State Office for Geology and Mining of Rhineland-Palatinate;
State Office for the Environment, Water Management and Commerce;
University of Freiburg, Institute for Landscape Management;
RLP AgroScience GmbH, Institute of Agricultural Ecology;
University of Trier, Department VI, Dept. Physical Geography;
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Forschungsanstalt für Waldökologie und