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Assessing risks and vulnerabilities to climate change

2.1 What impacts has the past and current weather had/have on my city/town?

Analysing past weather events will help municipalities gain a better understanding of how their city might be affected by climate change impacts in the longer term when the current risks are intensified. It can help to determine a city's sensitivity to current weather and thus provide significant insight for adaptation needs. 


Relevant existing work, such as national risk assessments that many European countries have already carried out, can provide an excellent starting point for answering these questions. Various sources on the internet can give an overview of such relevant work. The CLIMATE-ADAPT database is the main depository of reports and publications relevant for Europe. National and sub-national level research projects and activities can be found in national databases.

Past natural disasters are also being documented in several international disaster databases, such as EM-DAT or Desinventar. On a national level natural hazard information may be collected and maintained either by civil protection or disaster management authorities or the national meteorological service. The insurance sector, in particular the re-insurance companies, also maintain past and current hazard and risk databases, for example Swiss Re provides Sigma and CatNet services and Munich Re maintains NatCat service.

Sector specialists should be consulted within urban areas because they might be collecting local-level data on natural hazards and their impacts and also have knowledge of additional relevant information sources.

If information is not readily publicly available, the above-mentioned and other relevant institutions can be contacted with requests for information. National adaptation support points can provide further guidance as to where to find relevant information.

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