Impacts of climate change

Cities with high levels of soil sealing are especially vulnerable to more frequent and intense heavy rainfalls
© animaflora /

Climate change alters the world which we live in - with manifold effects on nature, society and economy and our everyday lives. These effects are referred to as climate (change) impacts. Those impacts are visible today in the form of melting glaciers, changes in the behaviour of migratory birds or an early spring.

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The climate is changing and will continue to change in the future. The observed and calculated changes can be directly linked to human emissions of greenhouse gases. The climate change manifests itself both in long-term climate changes such as rising average temperatures or a higher sea level, as well as in changed climate variability, i.e. stronger short-term climate fluctuations and more frequent extreme weather events such as heavy rain, droughts or hot summers.


How is climate change already affecting Germany?

The Monitoring Report on the DAS provides an overview of the observed consequences of climate change and adaptation measures that have already been initiated in Germany. Based on selected indicators and measured data from the 15 fields of action of the German Adaptation Strategy, the monitoring report shows every four years which changes due to climate change can already be identified in Germany today and which countermeasures are already taking effect. He thus provides a systematic and comprehensive overall picture of the extent of the consequences of global warming in Germany and of the incipient adaptation.


How is climate change affecting different sectors and regions?

Climate change also has different consequences for the different regions of Germany, even if it is getting warmer everywhere and the risk of heavy rain and drought increases. You can find out more about the impacts of climate change on sectors and federal states under Climate Impacts Germany.


Which climate risks are particularly threatening for Germany?

The climate will continue to change, we just don't know how much and how quickly. Possible future climate impacts were examined in detail in the Climate Impact and Risk Assessment (KWRA) 2021. It provides information about the risks associated with climate change for Germany, what options there are for adaptation and which climate impacts require particularly urgent action. The KWRA is the most comprehensive analysis of the risks and effects of climate change in Germany and shows that climate risks can increase significantly in the future, especially if no climate protection and adaptation measures are taken. The results of the KWRA 2021 can be found under Risks and potential for adaptation.


How do scenarios and climate models help to look into the future?

Scenarios and models such as global and regional climate models and climate impact models are used to estimate future consequences of climate change. The results of climate models, the so-called climate projections, provide insights into how the ⁠climate⁠ can develop under different scenarios for anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Climate impact models use these climate projections and combine them with existing knowledge about the connections between the ⁠climate⁠ and its influence on humans, nature and the economy, as well as socio-economic scenarios, in order to estimate future ⁠climate consequences⁠. For more information on this topic, see Climate Models and Scenarios.

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