Climate change impacts caused an economic loss of €145 billion in the last decade due to the increased frequency and intensity of extreme events. The most pronounced climate change impacts are due to heat (waves) and extreme precipitation – or lack thereof.
The impact of heat on health
What individuals perceive as “hot” varies per person, but it is undeniable that heat stress (high temperatures during the day, only slight cooling at night) affects human health and relates to various symptoms, such as lack of concentration, exhaustion, dehydration, circulatory disorder, and it can even result in death. The unprecedented warming due to human made climate change is even higher in cities due to their typology (sealed surfaces, little natural areas), forcing them to take measures to adapt to the heat and take strong climate mitigation action to protect their urban dwellers.
The impact of flooding on infrastructure
Recently, extreme precipitation events have led to immense flooding in Europe as experienced by Italy in May this year or Germany in 2021. Due to our live style and the consequent rise in emissions and temperature, more water vapour can be stored within the atmosphere, causing less frequent, but more intense precipitation events. Furthermore, the atmospheric circulation is altered by climate change causing more long-term weather patterns. Combining these two aspects with the growing scale of infrastructure and built environment on the one hand increases the magnitude of the flooding since sealed surfaces prevent infiltration of water and on the other hand result in increased economic loss and fatalities. Transforming the infrastructure to adapt to these circumstances is inevitable to reduce the impact of extreme events.
Soil fertility and agriculture
Productive agriculture is the backbone of our society since we need food to survive. Climate change however is already highly affecting the soil fertility and thus the agricultural yield. Soil fertility is impacted by prevailing conditions, making it very sensitive to changes in precipitation, temperature, wind pattern or greenhouse gases. Furthermore, aspects such as erosion or salinization, also consequences of human made climate change, highly affect the functions performed by soil. It is crucial to note that climate change and soil fertility are deeply connected to each other! Therefore, regions like and strive to set measures to adapt agricultural and forestry production to new climatic conditions and changes in soil fertility for sustainable development.
KNOWING supports regions to adapt to the aforementioned climate impacts while focusing on climate mitigation, crucially needed to ensure a liveable future.