Climate change typology


Observations for policy

Climate change is a global challenge, but it implies different things in different parts of Europe. Indeed, climate change has to be dealt differently in different territories. The typology on climate change regions brings evidence as basis for territorially differentiated adaptation and mitigation needs.

Policy context

In 2009, the European Commission published a White Paper on climate change which underlines the link between climate change and territorial development in Europe. Climate change is a major global challenge. This has been acknowledged by a range of leading policy documents, including the Europe 2020 strategy and the Territorial Agenda 2020. It is also reflected in the proposed investment priorities for the CSF Funds 2014-2020. The overall thematic objectives address among others climate change adaptation and risk prevention. This is further elaborated within the investment priorities of the specific funds.

Map interpretation

The map shows climate change regions, i.e. not climate regions. Main topographic characteristics of Europe are distinguishable, underlining the validity of the derived typology from a pan-European perspective.

Based on the analysis of eight climate change variables, the map presents five types of climate change regions, i.e. ‘Southern-central Europe‘, ‘Northern Europe‘, ‘Northern-central Europe‘, ‘Mediterranean region‘ and ‘Northern-western Europe‘.

A strong increase in mean temperature is visible for three clusters of regions, namely ‘Northern Europe’, ‘Southern central Europe’ and the ‘Mediterranean region’.

Strong decreases in frost days predominantly characterise the clusters of ‘Northern central Europe, ‘Northern Europe’ and ‘Southern central Europe’, whereas strong increases in summer days is projected for the clusters of ‘Southern central Europe’ and the ‘Mediterranean region’. Change in precipitation in winter months in the ‘Northern Europe’ cluster shows particularly strong increases while for summer months most significant changes in terms of strong decrease can be observed in ‘Southern central Europe’ and ‘Mediterranean region’ clusters. The variables on heavy rainfall and evaporation do not confirm significant strong changes for any of the clusters while days with snow cover are projected to decrease strongly in the ‘Northern central Europe’ cluster.

Concepts and methods

The typology of climate change regions was developed by performing a series of cluster analyses on the basis of the eight CCLM climate variables. In the end, five clusters were identified each exhibiting distinct regional climate change profiles.

The variables considered are change in annual mean winter temperature, summer days, frost days, snow cover days, winter precipitation, summer precipitation, heavy rainfall days and annual mean evaporation. For these variables, climate changes were calculated on the basis of a comparison of 1961-1990 and 2071-2100 climate projections from the CCLM model for the IPCC SRES A1B scenario.