The WEATHER project aims at analysing the economic costs of more frequent and more extreme weather events on transport and on the wider economy and explores adaptation strategies for reducing them in the context of sustainable policy design. The research is carried out by an international team of eight European institutes, lead by the Fraunhofer-Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI). The project runs for 30 months from November 2009 until April 2012.
Read more about the projects objectives, approach and results:
Records of reinsurance companies clearly highlight the rising damages caused by the consequences of climate change, and in particular of natural catastropies and extreme weather events. While many studies focus on CO2 mitigation in transport, research on the vulnerability of the sector on climate driven effects, namely extreme weather events, is coming up only recently.
Little knowledge has so far been developed on the economic costs of climate and extreme weather driven damages to transport, and even less evidence is available on the options, costs and benefits of adaptation measures. National adaptation programs of EU Member States, the US, Canada, New Zealand and the 4th assessment report of the IPCC provide only indicative measures and global fields of action. Thus there is a need for European studies addressing local conditions.
The third branch of WEATHER research is concerned with the role of transport systems for crisis/disaster management. In the transport literature, the term “emergency operations” spans a number of topics including logistics, traffic planning, and institutional issues. The major tasks under these topics are the transport of emergency vehicles and search-and-rescue teams, medical evacuation, and distribution of goods and local medical aid. In this field of research European evidence is already available.
The WEATHER project approaches the topic of extreme events and their impacts on transport systems from an economic perspective. Its core objective is to "determine the physical impacts and the economic costs of climate change on transport systems and identify the costs and benefits of suitable adaptation and emergency management strategies".
This general objective is detailed by 7 sub-goals:
- Develop a dynamic model on the causal relations between the severity and frequency of extreme events, the functionality of critical sectors and social welfare.
- Detailed assessment of the vulnerable elements and dmange costs in transport systems.
- Work out efficient and innovative mechanisms of managing disastrous events, focussing on maintaining the function of transport systems.
- Identify appropriate and efficient adaptation strategies for transportation infra-structures and services to ease the impacts of extreme events in the future.
- Clarify the role of governments, companies and industry associations.
- Check the applicability of theoretical concepts of vulnerability assessment, crises prevention and adaptation strategies with practical experiences and local conditions
- Dissemination of project findings to a wider audience to fostering the debate on the costs and implications of more frequent and severe weather conditions on transport systems
The project work plan is broken down in two work packages for management dissemination and seven work packages on research:
- WP1: Weather trends and economy-wide impacts
- WP2: Vulnerability of transport systems
- WP3: Crisis management and emergency strategies
- WP4: Adaptation options and strategies
- Governance, incentives and innovation
- WP6: Case studies
- WP7: Policy conclusions and final conference
The WEATHER work packages are closely interlinked as sound adaptation and crises prevention strategies require the simultaneous consideration of various aspects of weather trends, transport economics and policy design.
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The WEATHER project implements the following case studies:
- Case study 1: Flood of 2002 in Eastern Germany
- Case study 2: Summer heat 2007 in southern Europe
- Case study 3: Flooding of the rail link Vienna - Prague in 2006
- Case study 4: Hurricanes Lothar 1999 and Kyrill (2007) in France
- Case study 5: Heavy snow on alpine roads
- Case study 6: Rhine shipping during 2003 summer heat
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