Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/nhess-2016-337
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
31 Oct 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper is under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).
Will climate change increase the risk of infrastructure failures in Europe due to heavy precipitation?
Katrin M. Nissen and Uwe Ulbrich Freie Universität Berlin, Institute of Meteorology, Carl-Heinrich-Becker-Weg 6–10, 12165 Berlin, German
Abstract. The effect of climate change on potentially infrastructure damaging heavy precipitation events in Europe is investigated in an ensemble of regional climate simulations conducted at a horizontal resolution of 12 km. Based on legislation and stakeholder interviews the 10-year return period is used as a threshold for the detection of relevant events.

A novel technique for the identification of heavy precipitation events is introduced. It records not only event frequency but also event size, duration and severity (a measure taking duration, size and rain amount into account) as these parameters determine the potential consequences of the event. Over most of Europe the frequency of relevant heavy precipitation events is predicted to increase with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. The risk by daily and multi-day events increases at a lower rate than the risk by sub-daily events. The event size is predicted to increase in the future over many European regions, especially for sub-daily events. Moreover, the most severe events were detected in the projection period. The climate change simulations don't show changes in event duration.


Citation: Nissen, K. M. and Ulbrich, U.: Will climate change increase the risk of infrastructure failures in Europe due to heavy precipitation?, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/nhess-2016-337, in review, 2016.
Katrin M. Nissen and Uwe Ulbrich
Katrin M. Nissen and Uwe Ulbrich
Katrin M. Nissen and Uwe Ulbrich

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Short summary
The effect of climate change on potentially infrastructure damaging heavy precipitation events in Europe is investigated. A novel technique records not only event frequency but also event size, duration and severity as these parameters determine the potential consequences of the event. Over most of Europe the frequency and size of heavy precipitation events is predicted to increase. Moreover, the most severe events are predicted for future periods.
The effect of climate change on potentially infrastructure damaging heavy precipitation events...
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