Feeling Flooded: MISSION CE CLIMATE training on Precipitation Risks and Adaptation Strategies in Central Europe

Date: 23.02.2024

The training delivered a comprehensive overview of precipitation-based climate risks, categorizing them into two main types: risks from extreme precipitation leading to floods and risks associated with droughts due to insufficient rainfall. The speaker highlighted the severe consequences of these phenomena, including crop damage, soil erosion, increased flood risks, public safety hazards, and significant threats to public health from environmental exposures such as wildfires and degraded water quality. Attention was drawn to historical precipitation trends and climate projections, revealing an alarming pattern of increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, and fluctuating precipitation anomalies. With projections indicating an increase in annual average precipitation in Northern Europe but a decrease in the South, the session underscored the critical need for regional adaptation strategies to address these shifting patterns. The discussion pointed out the seasonal variations, with more precipitation expected in winter and less in summer, affecting water availability and exacerbating the risk of landslides. The training examined the three types of flooding – river, pluvial, and coastal – each posing unique challenges under the influence of climate change. The analysis showed how intensified hydrological cycles, impermeable urban surfaces, and expected sea-level rises would increase the frequency and severity of flood events. Particularly striking was the mention of the economic and infrastructural devastation caused by past flood events in cities across Europe, serving as a stark reminder of the potential future impacts without effective adaptation measures. Droughts are identified as an equally grave concern, with projections pointing towards longer durations and more severe impacts, particularly under high emissions scenarios. The session emphasized the critical nature of distinguishing between meteorological, agricultural, and hydrological droughts, each affecting various aspects of the environment and human activity. The alarming decrease in water availability for cities and agriculture was highlighted, along with the substantial impacts already felt across the European Union. Focus on adaptation strategies showcased innovative approaches and success stories from across Europe. From flood defences and ecosystem-based solutions to water management and demand reduction strategies, participants were introduced to a range of measures aimed at building resilience against climate-induced precipitation risks. Special emphasis was placed on the transformative potential of these measures, including the creation of retention areas, reduction of soil sealing, and development of resilient infrastructure. By bringing together experts and key local stakeholders the MISSION CE CLIMATE training session has laid a solid foundation for understanding and tackling precipitation-based climate risk and served as a vital platform for sharing knowledge, experiences, and best practices in climate adaptation. As we move forward, the MISSION CE Climate Project remains committed to empowering communities and stakeholders across Central Europe to face the challenges of climate change with confidence and resilience. A recording of the session is available in the Media tab on this website and on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfR8lCXkqeE&t=36s