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Climate variables - projected changes (ESPON Climate Change project)

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The ESPON Climate project performed a pan-European vulnerability assessment as a basis for identifying regional typologies of climate change exposure, sensitivity, impact and vulnerability. On this basis, tailor-made adaptation options can be derived which are able to cope with regionally specific patterns of climate change. In the ESPON Climate project this regional specificity is addressed by seven case studies from the transnational to the very local level.

The projected changes of climate variables from the ESPON Climate Change project:
- Increase in annual mean temperature
- Increase in annual mean number of summer days
- Change in annual mean precipitation in summer months
- Decrease in annual mean number of days with snow cover

The territorial perspective on climate change is somehow unique, because most of the existing vulnerability studies have a clear sectoral focus, addressing very specific potential impacts of climate change on single elements of a particular sector. The leading existing studies have so far not employed such a comprehensive methodological approach. Furthermore, most studies lack a clear territorial pan-European focus. Specialised research is sensible and necessary but the findings of specialised studies are not easily transferable between sectors or between regions. Findings may not even be comparable due to methodological differences.

This is particularly troublesome in an international policy context like the European Union, when it needs to be determined, what are the consequences of climate change on the competiveness of Europe as a whole or the territorial cohesion of European regions.

Therefore, the ESPON Climate project developed a new comprehensive vulnerability assessment methodology and applied it to all regions across Europe in order to create the evidence base needed for a climate change responsive European territorial development policy. However, any vulnerability assessment is confronted with uncertainty which is based in the models (the project made use of CCLM1), the emission scenario (A1B2) and of course, the future trends in socio-economic development. Thus, the results of ESPON Climate may be seen as a possible vulnerability scenario which shows what Europe’s future in the wake of climate change may look like and not as a clear-cut forecast. Nonetheless, it gives some hints what adaptation should be about in view of the identified regional typologies of climate change.

Reference information

Link to Map Viewer:
ESPON Climate Change project
Link to metadata:


ESPON, precipitation, snow cover, summer days

Climate impacts

Extreme Temperatures, Water Scarcity, Flooding, Droughts, Ice and Snow


Observations and Scenarios


Agriculture, Biodiversity, Buildings, Coastal areas, Energy, Forestry, Health, Transport, Water management

Geographic characterisation


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