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16 Oct 2018

Climate change impacts: Being prepared for this new climate

This summer’s global heat wave and the related droughts caused wildfires, crop failure and fish kills. In some regions, extreme low flow conditions led to the shut-down of nuclear power plants, power demand for cooling put electricity grids under stress, and electricity prices reached multi-year highs.

Now 2018 was, so far, the fourth-hottest year on record. The only years hotter were the three previous, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Global warming is no longer a future problem. It is happening here and now, and its impact will increasingly challenge our societies.

Large-scale infrastructure projects – the core of Pöyry’s global expertise – with long-term life cycles and their critical role in economic development and in the public interest, need to get prepared to face climate change. 

Climate change can pose a threat to the sustainability and profitability of infrastructure investment. The related risk needs to be assessed and quantified. Smart design anticipates a changing environment and can increase future usability and benefits.

Many of the changes brought about by climate change, such as shifting rainfall patterns, frequencies and intensities of floods and droughts, changing storm tracks and wind speeds are highly uncertain. But climate science is progressing, and state-of-the-art climate models provide increasingly accurate simulations at improving spatial resolution. The use of climate model data can support quantification of future risk and the definition of resilient design options.

At Pöyry, we have many years of experience in applying climate model data in climate change impact studies, climate change adaptation projects, and in the development of climate risk management plans. Striving to be at the forefront of applied research of climate change impact, we ensure that latest developments in climate modelling and advances in methodological approaches feed into our client projects. 

This is also reflected in our scientific publications: two new articles on the future development in river discharge and hydropower potential in West Africa and Central Europe have recently been published. In both studies, we applied large ensembles of the most recent climate model simulations and large-scale regional hydrological models, and could identify patterns of change in regional and seasonal water availability. In West Africa, the wettest regions along the southwest coast can expect to receive even more rainfall in the future, with the consequences of higher hydropower potential, but also higher flood risk. For many regions that are among the driest already, for example in Senegal, the future scenarios show a further decrease in water availability. For the Danube in Central Europe, the analysis of the most detailed climate simulations confirmed previously identified trends of increasing winter discharge and decreasing summer discharge. 

The results of our climate impact assessments facilitate the timely formulation of adaptation strategies and allow the quantification of the risks of climate change for long-term investment. From detailed design adaptations to climate risk management plans and strategic advisory services, Pöyry can provide solutions to prepare for the new climate.

Link to download of West Africa Climate Services paper.

Link to abstract of Journal of Hydrology Central Europe paper – if you want to receive the full paper, please contact

Contact information

Philipp Stanzel
Senior Hydrologist