Volume 2 Chapter 6: Climate change impacts on the Anthroposphere

Mechler R (2014). Volume 2 Chapter 6: Climate change impacts on the Anthroposphere. In: Austrian Assessment Report 2014 (AAR14). Eds. (APCC), Austrian Panel on Climate Change, Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences Press. DOI:10.1553/aar14s641.

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Abstract

Climate change impacts for the Anthroposphere are significant and it is very likely that these impacts are leading to structural damages as well as enhanced threats to human health. Particularly, the poor, elderly and chronically ill will suffer from the higher frequency and magnitude of summer heat waves. A varying potential for the spread of yet non-endemic infectious diseases is very likely, as well as an increased potential for the (further) extension of allergenic plant and animal species.

Climate change will very likely trigger increased migration from developing and newly industrialized countries to Europe. To which extent this will lead to more immigration to Austria will depend on policies at the EU- and national levels.

The economic impacts of climate change in Austria will very likely produce both winners and losers. However, more precise assessments of the economic impacts are currently only available for certain sectors. The agriculture and electricity production sectors show very moderate GDP-alterations directly in their sectors as well as downstream. The tourism sector is very likely to exhibit stronger changes within the sector and also with other up- and downstream sectors (e.g., energy supply and gastronomy). Within the sector a shift is expected from winter to summer tourism as well as regionally from the west (dominated by winter tourism) to the east with seasonally more diversified tourism.

The natural hazard- and weather-related damages observed during the last 30 years depend only to a certain extent on higher frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events. A large share of the damage increase is related to growing wealth and higher assets of the population. The most damaging events have been floods followed by avalanches, while the largest human casualties have been induced by heat waves. Regulations and planning standards (e.g., building-regulation and spatial planning) play a fundamental role in hazard control and disaster risk reduction.

Settlement areas in Austria will very likely be most affected by more intense heat waves, while some regions will be further burdened by constraints in drinking water supply. Traffic infrastructures in Austria are very vulnerable to mass movements and flooding, triggered by heavy precipitation events, which are expected to increase in the future. To which extent frequency and magnitude of such events may increase remains uncertain. Instead, the challenge for energy infrastructures in a warmer and during summer potentially dryer Austria is very likely to be substantial. Higher energy demand during heat waves corresponds with supply constraints (due to less effective cooling water supply), while the threat for power distribution networks because of flash-overs will be particularly high especially during thunder storms at the end of summer heat waves and droughts when cooling demand is at peak.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Programs: Risk, Policy and Vulnerability (RPV)
Risk & Resilience (RISK)
Bibliographic Reference: In: Austrian Panel on Climate Change (APCC); Austrian Assessment Report 2014 (AAR14); Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, Vienna, Austria pp.641-706
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:51
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2016 09:45
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/11087

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