Climate Change (as part of the flood risk assessment)


A changing climate of a place or region can be realized, if over an extended period - decades or longer - a statistically significant change in measurements can be observed. The statistically significant change in measurements refers either to the mean state or to the variability of the climate.

Changes in climate may be due to natural processes or to persistent anthropogenic changes in atmosphere or in land use. Note that the definition of climate change used in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is more restricted, as it includes only those changes which are attributable directly or indirectly to human activity.

Most scientific observers are agreed that climate change is taking place and that it will probably result in:

  • More frequent storms.
  • Higher peak intensities of rainfall (with resulting higher peak river flows).
  • Higher sea levels.
  • Wetter winters and drier summers.

The net result from these factors will be:

increased frequency, severity and extent of flooding. 

With this background, it is essential that thorough consideration is given to the topics of flood risk management and sustainability so that balanced and informed judgements can be made to protect both the natural and man-made environments.


Within flood risk assessment the conclusion concerning the integration of climate change is:

Include climate change in flood risk or inundation calculations. However, be aware that predicting the effects of climate change is not an exact science; this uncertainty should be included in the resulting maps.”

Some participants in the FLOWS project underlined that hydrological models should be calibrated with present data. The FLOWS country representatives all agreed that the climate change scenario’s of all European countries should be standardised.






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