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ESPON Climate Change project

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Terrestrial vulnerability and risk maps from the ESPON Climate Change project:
- Change in exposure to coastal flooding
- Change in exposure to river flooding

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 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.

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:


Flood river coast terrestrial vulnerabilty assessment risk ESPON

Climate impacts

Flooding, Sea Level Rise


Vulnerability Assessment


Buildings, Coastal areas, Disaster Risk Reduction, Energy, Transport, Water management

Geographic characterisation


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