To improve the observation, evaluation, anticipation and communication of the impacts of current weather extremes and future climate change and to evaluate the effectiveness of policies and measures that reduce their risks to sustainable development.
Residual climate change, i.e. the changes to the climate system that will occur despite likely climate change mitigation actions, is expected to remain significant. It includes increasing temperatures and changed precipitation patterns; warming oceans, rising sea levels and melting glaciers; increasing changing frequencies of extreme weather events: floods, droughts and heat waves.
These changes are expected to have significant, largely detrimental, impacts on natural resources (water, land, forests, clean air, ecosystems), the economy (transport and urban infrastructure, energy production, agriculture, timber…) and the social fabric (human health, displacement and migration of people). Such impacts are expected to be important even if the World achieves the UNFCCC objective of limiting global temperature increase to 2 degrees above its pre-industrial value. For example, extreme weather events, already lead to large human and economic losses today.
The Europe 2020 Strategy for a Resource efficient Europe asks in particular “for an early action on adaptation to climate change to minimize threats to ecosystems and human health, support economic development and help adjust our infrastructures to cope with unavoidable climate change”. Such action must however be robust and protect equally against current extreme weather as well as climate changes in the long term.
Climate Risk Management must therefore be developed within an integrated framework that reflects the continuum between future climate change risks and current risks of weather driven natural disasters, works necessarily across different scales in space in time and considers the need for adaptation in the context of both mitigation and sustainable development.
The CRM Unit will foster the development of such an integrated approach throughout the JRC as well as the necessary collaborations to realise and apply it in policy support. This must necessarily follow a sound scientific approach based on quality controlled observations, evaluations and anticipations based on the up-to-date Earth System and Sustainability Science. A particular challenge is the handling of scientific uncertainties in collaboration with the user community. According to the present thinking the CRM Unit, will seek to
- assess decadal climate change and its impacts under various mitigation scenario’s and apply short-term to seasonal forecasts to evaluating current weather driven natural hazards.
- use these scenario’s and forecasts for impact research. The Unit will also foster their use elsewhere in the JRC, in order to arrive at comprehensive climate change and disaster risk assessments.
- engage in research to improve Earth Observations from space and to improve Earth System modelling. It will seek to merge these two strands of activity into more complete assessments of current climate, to better initialize climate and climate impact predictions.
- develop climate risk management practices that are synergistic: in the sense that they cope with present and future risks, but also that they promote sustainable development in general.
With its activities, the Unit will provide a basic understanding of the impacts of extreme weather and climate change and their risk to society, as well as on the effectiveness of measures to combat them. As such it will support DG CLIMA and DG ENV in particular as well as DG REGIO, DG HOME and DG DEVCO. It will be a key contributor to building up Climate Services, e.g. within Copernicus (formerly GMES), and organise input to the EC Clearinghouse on Adaptation.
Action 24008 - CR-LESS-DC (Climate Risk - LESS Developed Countries)
Action 32004 - CR-MORE-DC (Climate Risk - MORE Developed Countries)
Frank Raes - Tel.: +39-0332-789958 E-mail: frank.raes(at)jrc.ec.europa.eu