Research Area
"Environmental Risks in Urban and Regional Development"

Vulnerability Study Saxony − VusS

Assessment and Prioritisation of Integrative Risks and Opportunities of Climate Change in Saxony

Background

There is already clear evidence of a changing climate in Saxony such as rising average temperatures as well as shifting rainfall patterns and an altered climatic water balance. These changes affect the environment and society in a variety of ways. For example they lead to increasing bioclimatic pressure on the local population, worsening production conditions for agriculture and forestry as well as changes in biodiversity. Previously observed trends will continue in the future, and indeed are likely to increase in severity. Thus efforts were and are already being undertaken in the Free State of Saxony to project the likely climate change impacts on various environmental compartments and fields of societal utilisation (e.g. projects such as KLIWAS, KLIWES, NEYMO, KLAPS, forestry studies, an agricultural strategy). However, a comprehensive wide-ranging multidisciplinary study is still lacking as well as a systematic evaluation in order to place Saxony's general strategy on a solid footing and to indicate suitable paths of action.

Scientific and practically-oriented goals

Against this background, the Vulnerability Study for Saxony pursues the following goals:

  • Investigation of the spatial and temporal extent of likely regional climatic change with an indication of the uncertainty bands
  • Assessment of the spatial and temporal climate change impacts on the environment and society with an indication of the uncertainty bands
  • Evaluation of the climate change impacts as risks and opportunities
  • Prioritisation of risks and opportunities in order to identify spatial and temporal ‘hotspots’
  • Development of a strategy that can be used to derive recommendations for action on the part of the Free State of Saxony

Study approach

In order to realise these goals, the study encompasses the following components:

  • Regional climate projections

    • Multi-model ensemble incorporating diverse greenhouse gas emission scenarios as well as global circulation and regional climate models (model WEREX V)
    • Pinpointing of areas with projections of similar climate change

  • Vulnerability Analysis

    • Regarding environmental compartments and (societal) utilisations
    • Distinguished by susceptibility, value/function and coping capacity
    • (influence of societal change on future vulnerability)

  • Impact assessment

    • Regarding environmental compartments and (societal) utilisations
    • Incorporating the interrelations between individual processes (cause-effect chains)

  • Evaluation and prioritisation

    • Evaluation of risks and opportunities while taking account of legal norms
    • Prioritisation of spatial and temporal 'hotspots' using multiple criteria

  • Drawing up a strategy and recommendations for action

    • Measures and instruments of climate change adaptation
    • General strategy with practically-oriented recommendations (in which burdens are distributed)

Study goals

The study will provide a quantitative description of climate change, vulnerabilities and impacts as well as an evaluation of risks and opportunities at scaled spatial and temporal resolution with an indication of the uncertainty bands. This will provide a strong empirical basis for the development of an adaptation strategy from which recommendations for action can be derived. In view of the interdisciplinary approach and the analytical level of an entire federal state (Land), the assessment prepares further scientific elaboration and sectoral specification as well as application of results at the regional and local levels.