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This page is for WP 6.2 Linking impact models to probabilistic scenarios of climate change

WP6.2 Leaders:
Tim Carter - first contact for organisational matters, response surfaces
Tom Holt - first contact for data/software needs, extremes reporting

Participants: UREADMM (Wheeler/Slingo), ULUND (Barring), UKOELN (Ulbrich), NOA (Giannakopoulos), DISAT (Bindi), PAS (Kundzewicz), FMI (Tuomenvirta), SMHI (Graham), UNIK (Alcamo), DIAS (Olesen)


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Impact models, sectors and scales of analysis to be employed by partners






Temperate crops/N/Soil C

Temperate crops/N/Soil C



Mediterranean crops

Mediterranean crops

Mediterranean crops; forest fire


Soil water

Wind energy



Forestfire, heat stress


Regional flooding


Runoff/stream discharge


Temperate crops/subarctic palsa mires

Crops/N/Soil C


Human health

Windstorm; heat stress; arrival patterns of extremes




Ecosystem damage; flood damage


Water availability/water quality


Crop-climate modelling

Task 6.2.a: Response surfaces and impact thresholds. This task describes the sensitivity to climate change in different sectors and defines possible thresholds of tolerance. This analysis is required in order to be able to undertake the probabilistic assessment in Task 6.2.b. Impacts of climate change will be represented using response surfaces, based on multiple model simulations across a wide range of plausible future climates, which depict a measure of impact against key climatic variables (e.g., see Figure 1a). Impacts to be studied in this way include: soil moisture, soil temperature, crop productivity, nitrogen use efficiency, nitrogen leaching, soil carbon storage, stream discharge, and water availability. The future climates to be considered will be guided by the full range of climate projections for Europe in ENSEMBLES and related FP5 projects such as PRUDENCE and ATEAM, including stabilisation scenarios and plausible scenarios of abrupt climate change (e.g., due to a shutdown of the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation), if available from RT4. Threshold levels of impact will be defined either based on historical impacts, or according to established operational conditions (e.g. minimum stream discharge for hydroelectric production). They will be selected to illustrate possible levels of tolerance to climate change, the exceedance of which may be regarded as unacceptable by decision makers (Article 2 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). Thresholds will be sector-, system- and region-specific.

Task 6.2.b: Scenario impacts and risk assessment. This task quantifies the risk of exceeding given impact thresholds. The probabilistic scenarios developed in WP1.2, WP2A.3 and WP2B3-5 will be superimposed on the impact response surfaces developed in Task 6.2.a, facilitating a quantification of the risk of exceeding a given impact threshold (as defined in Task 6.2.a).

Each climate scenario developed during ENSEMBLES can be located in “climate space” on the impact response surfaces, enabling the following issues to be analysed: (i) the significance of modelled impacts under changing climate in relation to impacts estimated for natural variability alone; (ii) the risk of exceedance of impact thresholds at different times in the future with unmitigated emissions (e.g. see Figure 1b); (iii) the reduction in risk of impact threshold exceedance under stabilisation scenarios; (iv) the levels of impact to be regarded as “unavoidable” in Europe under all estimates of climate change, and for which adaptation will presumably be required; and (v) the types of impact that might be expected in Europe under abrupt, non-linear climate changes.

Task 6.2.c: Evaluating the impacts of extreme events. The work develops and analyses appropriate methods for evaluating the impacts of changes in the frequency, magnitude and distribution in time of extreme weather events under a changing climate. In northern Europe the extremes of greatest concern will be wind storm and flood, and their impacts on human health and safety, property and forestry. Over southern Europe the emphasis will be on drought and heat stress, and the relationship to forest fire, agriculture, water resources and human health. Models at different levels of spatial aggregation will be constructed, so that issues of scale can be explored. The models will seek to incorporate the capacity to adapt to climate change. The combined effects of uncertainties in the climate change scenarios and in impacts evaluation, will be explored, through probabilistic approaches.

Last modified: December 15, 2011, S. Fronzek, stefan.fronzek(at)ymparisto.fi