Western Pomerania

Background and Goals

As the North Easternmost model region on the Polish border, the Western Pomerania planning region has a low population density of around 70 inhabitants per km². Coastal and lagoon landscapes along with a largely agricultural coastal hinterland characterise the region, which has a coastline of around 1,450 km.

The Western Pomerania Regional Planning Authority has presented a spatial strategy for a regional response to climate change. The strategy is based on a combination of adaptation and climate protection measures effective for the public. Five fields of activity addressed by experts and regional stakeholders, targeting the most important spatial factors ensure that the spatial strategy has an integrative effect. The "Biodiversity", "Agriculture, forestry and fisheries", "Water management and water balance" and "Housing development, mobility, tourism and energy generation/distribution" fields of activity support one another and have a range of interactions between them. The fifth field of activity involves the regional measures for climate protection.

The objectives are:

  • Development of a regional climate adaptation programme to strengthen regional resilience;
  • Creation of quality and test criteria for relevant projects ("Climate Check");
  • Integration into updates of the regional development concept;
  • Development of instruments for a climate change governance process as an interdisciplinary task.

Four target areas with specific requirements and measures have been defined:

  • Sustainable housing development,
  • Sustainable coastal development,
  • Safeguarding landscape water balance and groundwater regeneration,
  • Open space development and biodiversity.

Content time


Research area/region

  • Germany
Region of implementation (all German federal states)
  • Mecklenburg Western Pomerania
Natural spatial classification
  • coasts: North Sea-/Baltic Sea coasts
  • North-East German lowland

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 

Emission scenario (SRES): A1B;
underlying global model: ECHAM5;
regional climate models: REMO, CLM, WETTREG;
up to date climate projections provided by the German Meteorological Office (DWD)

Parameter (climate signals)
  • Altered rainfall patterns
  • Higher average temperatures
  • Sea level rise und storm surges
Further Parameters 

wind, cloud, humidity

Time horizon
  • long term = to 2100 and beyond

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

Approach and results 

A rise of at least 30 centimetres in the sea level by 2100 will lead to a coastline retreat. Significant land losses caused by flooding, more frequent landslides on steep coastlines and increased damage due to flash floods are expected. Increasing average temperatures and summer heat waves will permanently change the climate pattern. Increasing precipitation in winter and more frequent heavy precipitation will also lead to flood events. Reduced precipitation volumes in summer will result in drought and a reduced groundwater supply, and thus to adverse effects for agriculture and forestry. Climate sensitivity can also be observed in terms of the dependency of tourism on water quality in the Baltic and the risk to conservation areas in coastal areas. There is also a fear that climate change will affect groundwater resources due to salination.

Step 2b: Identify and assess risks - Vulnerability, risks and chances

Approach and results 

There was no determination and evaluation of sensitivity and adaptation capacity, which means that a vulnerability analysis in the sense of the IPCC concept was not performed.

The region has a particular vulnerability (for the purposes of a climate effect assessment) because of the specific landscape features of the coastal areas on the Baltic. The coastline is characterised by shallow bays and lagoons and is a landscape that has a disproportionately high level of vulnerability to the expected rises in sea levels and more frequent and, in some cases, more extreme flash flood events compared to other coastal regions on the North Sea and Baltic. Extensive protection of the low-lying hinterland based on dykes and other measures appears to be unrealistic. There is also vulnerability in the tourism sector, due to a deterioration in water quality on the Baltic as a result of rising temperatures.

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

Adaptation to the expected climate change will mainly be important for the following issues:

  • Dealing with rising sea levels on flat coastlines;
  • Controlling housing development on steep coastlines;
  • Realignment of agriculture to the changed climatic conditions;
  • Strengthening of forests as climatic protection and compensating areas with multifunctional effects;
  • Development of housing potential in coastal areas in accord with biodiversity and coastal protection requirements;
  • Use of regional regenerative energy generation resources to strengthen the labour market;

The strategic action and adaptation concept development was based on a combination of adaptation and climate protection measures with a strong public effect. The approaches for the five main focus areas are combined in the integrated spatial development strategy. The strategy incorporates interactions that can lead to synergies or to conflicts.

Time horizon
  • 2071–2100 (far future)

Step 4: Plan and implement measures

Measures and/or strategies 

The spatial development strategy outlines the most important regional problems of climate change and highlights the working directions for solving those problems. This is done by presenting examples of approaches for areas in the region and providing recommended actions for the different policy areas. It includes a regionally differentiated analysis of climate effects and adaptation requirements and the need for development and extension of formal and informal instruments.


Funding / Financing 

Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) and the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR): KlimaMORO

Project management 

Office for Spatial Research and Planning Vorpommern


Support the pilot project is the regional planning association Vorpommern (RPV); Regional Research assistance: planning engineer-East


Amt für Raumordnung und Landesplanung Vorpommern
Am Gorzberg, Haus 14
D-17489 Greifswald

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Fields of action:
 agriculture  biological diversity  building sector  coastal and marine protection  energy sector  fishery  spatial, regional and urban land use planning  tourism industry  transport, transport infrastructure  water regime, water management  woodland and forestry