TOLERATE - Towards Levels of Required Adaptation to cope with Extreme Weather Events

Background and Goals

The main objective of this Finnish project is to assess the required levels of adaptation at a regional level in order to be able to avoid intolerable damage resulting from extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts. Damages are regarded as intolerable if their extent multiplies considerably compared to the average levels over recent decades.

Compared with earlier studies, this study extends the economic impact assessment by also including indirect effects, such as those caused by the suspension of economic activities in flooded buildings and by increased logistics costs due to a damaged infrastructure. The last part of the study analyses what kind of adaptation strategies would best suit particular areas and sectors.

Essentially, the study aims at defining the notion of a required level of adaptation to avoid unacceptable disruption. Given the overall objective of getting a better understanding of required levels of adaptation the study purports to answer the following questions:

a. What is the current likelihood of disruptive extreme weather events that exceed a given threshold level of damage (to be defined in this study), and will the frequency and/or magnitude of such events increase up to  2050 with a changing climate?

b. What are the impacts of weather-induced disruptions of different magnitudes in different sectors, in terms of damage to the capital stock as well as loss of production, when applying so-called event tree analysis?

c. What kind of damage can be experienced by the regional population, in terms of loss of property, loss of employability, as well as loss of social networks and quality of life?

d. To what extent are current trends in economy, technology and institutional organisation aggravating the sensitivity of the studied sectors?

e. What are the cost-effective alternatives for lowering the risk of disruptions (at various levels) for various sectors, while recognising spill-over effects of measures between sectors?

f. What could be the role of public authorities and the insurance and financial sector regarding the promotion of adequate risk management (land use, market development, schooling & training, etc.)?

Content time


Research area/region

  • Finland

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 

As far as strategic choices regarding long term time frames, emission scenarios, climate simulations ensembles, socio-economic scenarios, selection of study regions, etc. are concerned, it can be tentatively indicated that the study will look until the year 2050 and will use the SRES A1-B scenario as point of departure for both the emission and socio-economic scenarios.

Geographical reference: Regional scenarios of the future climate changes (for example, in the 2040s) will be represented by calculating the frequency of weather extremes (defined in the same way as those used in the baseline analysis) using projections from different climate models.

Parameter (climate signals)
  • Heat waves
  • Extreme precipitation (incl. hail, snow)
  • Storm
Further Parameters 

weather extremes

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

Approach and results 

The study concentrates on the regional level, for example, river basin areas that are particularly flood-prone. To this end, several regions will be selected that have already been identified in earlier studies as having a higher-than-average risk potential.

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

Opportunities for risk management strategies and their expected benefits will be assessed.

Time horizon
  • 2011–2040 (near future)
  • 2021–2050 (near future)
  • 2036–2065


Funding / Financing 

Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finnish Ministry of Environment

Project management 

Government Institute for Economic Research (VATT)


Finnish Meteorological Institute (IL);
Finnish Environmental Institute (SYKE);
National Technical Research Centre (VTT)


Government Institute of Economic Research (VATT)
Arkadiankatu 7
PL 1279, 00101 Helsinki, Finland

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Fields of action:
 industry and commerce  transport, transport infrastructure