Austria Austria Austria Austria

Previously in ClimateChangePost


The number and intensity of droughts are increasing in parts of Central Europe, not due to a decrease in precipitation, but due to an increase in evaporation under higher temperatures.

In contrast to global climate model projections the intensity of summer rainfall may increase. This is important for fresh water supply and, for instance, with respect to flash floods.

For the Alps, the main trigger of debris flows is high intensity, short duration rainfall. Under future climate change, it is likely that increases in extreme rainfall will alter debris flow frequency

Numerous concepts have been developed to mitigate the heat load in urban areas, such as customizing urban vegetation for shading and evaporative cooling, introducing open water

In the famous Austrian ski resort Lech this year’s ski season had a warm start. Could this warm start be a sign of things to come?

The impact of climate change between now and 2100 on timber production and protection against landslides and avalanche release, has been evaluated for the Province of Vorarlberg in Austria

Global warming affects precipitation volumes in the Alps, the contribution of rain and snow to these volumes, and the timing of snowmelt. An overall decrease in snow cover

Climate change is considered a large threat to especially montane species. These species often inhabit narrow elevational ranges

There is growing evidence that the rate of warming is amplified with elevation, such that high-mountain environments experience more rapid changes in temperature

For Norway spruce in the Northern Limestone Alps (Germany and Austria), neither growth suppression at the lower elevation sites nor growth increase at higher elevation sites was observed

In the past decade, winter consequences and flood events accounted for 96% of the total rail and road networks costs in the Alps, 92% in mid-Europe and 91% across EUR29.

On the Rhine–Main–Danube corridor no decrease in the performance of inland waterway transport due to extreme weather events is expected till 2050.

In the Alps, the overall frequency of debris flows may decrease in absolute terms, but the magnitude of events may increase.

Strong reduction of snow cover in the Alps is expected to have major impacts on winter tourism. Many ski-regions have mean elevations below 2,000 m

Alpine countries suffered from economic losses of € 57 billion caused by natural hazards—only in the period from 1982 to 2005. The extensive flood in the Alpine region in August 2005

So far, forest fires do not constitute a significant hazard in the central and northern parts of the Alps, while on the southern side they are more common

Projections of glacier mass balance in 2100 have been made for five Austrian glaciers; these projections have been generated from

One-third of the controlled landfill sites and roughly 30 % of the uncontrolled landfills were identified as highly endangered by floods ...

The impact of climate change on hydropower production in the Swiss Alps during the 21st century has been assessed by combining climate projections ...

The impact of hydrological changes on navigation conditions has been studied for the Rhine-Main-Danube corridor, one of the most important waterways in Europe ...

Discharge is projected to increases during winter and decrease during summer months. The duration of low-flow situations becomes longer ...

Climate change will substantially affect the growth of spruce and beech, but not of oak, in Central Europe ...

Demographic changes will have a higher impact on skiing tourism than climate change in the first half of the twenty-first century ...

River runoff was simulated for the Lech basin, located in the Northern Limestone Alps for present (1971–2000) and future (2071–2100) climate conditions ...

The extremes of possible climate-change-driven habitat range size reductions are commonly based on two assumptions ...

Projected changes in climatic conditions for the Czech Republic and the northern parts of Austria show that by 2020 ...


I recommend

National plans/strategies for Austria

  • Sixth National Communication of the Austrian Federal Government under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (2014). Download.

Reports/papers that focus on important Austrian topics

  • Avalanches and Landslides: Gruber et al. (2004). Permafrost thaw and destabilization of Alpine rock walls in the hot summer of 2003. Download.
  • Tourism: Agrawala (2007). Climate Change in the European Alps. Adapting winter tourism and natural hazards management.

Reports/papers that present a sound overview for Europe

  • Eisenreich (2005). Climate change and the European water dimension. A report to the European water directors.
  • European Environment Agency (2005). Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in Europe. Download.
  • European Environment Agency, JRC and WHO (2008). Impact of Europe’s changing climate – 2008 indicator-based assessment. Download.

Reports/papers that focus on specific topics, relevant for all of Europe

  • Agriculture: Rounsevell et al. (2005). Future scenarios of European agricultural land use II. Projecting changes in cropland and grassland. Download.
  • Agriculture: Fischer et al. (2005). Socio-economic and climate change impacts on agriculture: an integrated assessment, 1990–2080. Download.
  • Biodiversity: Thuiller et al. (2005). Climate change threats to plant diversity in Europe. Download.
  • Coastal erosion: Salman et al. (2004). Living with coastal erosion in Europe: sediment and space for sustainability. Download.
  • Droughts: Blenkinsop and Fowler (2007). Changes in European drought characteristics projected by the PRUDENCE regional climate models. Download.
  • Droughts: European Environment Agency (2009). Water resources across Europe – confronting water scarcity and drought. Download.
  • Forestry: Seppälä et al. (2009). Adaptation of forests and people to climate change. A global assessment report. Download.
  • Health: Kosatsky (2005). The 2003 European heat waves. Download.
  • Health: WHO (2008). Protecting health in Europe from climate change. Download.
  • Insurance and Business: Mills et al. (2005). Availability and affordability of insurance under climate change. A growing challenge for the U.S. Download.
  • Security and Crisis management: German Advisory Council on Global Change (2007). World in transition: Climate change as a security risk. Summary for policy-makers. Download.
  • Storms: Gardiner et al. (2010). Destructive storms in European forests: Past and forthcoming impacts. Download.
  • Storms: Pinto et al. (2007). Changing European storm loss potentials under modified climate conditions according to ensemble simulations of the ECHAM5/MPI-OM1 GCM. Download.
  • Tourism: Deutsche Bank Research (2008). Climate change and tourism: Where will the journey lead? Download.

EU funded Research Projects



Avalanches and landslides


Climate change scenarios

Climate change impacts and vulnerabilities

Cultural-historical heritage

Droughts and water scarcety

Flash Floods


Fresh water resources



Insurance and Business

Mitigation / adaptation integrated policy

Mitigation / adaptation options and costs

Security and Crisis management


Transport, Infrastructure and Building

Urban areas

Waste management Austria

Vulnerabilities - Flood risk landfill sites

Maintenance and decomposition for landfill life cycles are assessed for 200–500 years depending on waste composition, climatic conditions and applied assessment methodologies (1). Consequently, even sites with flood protection levels up to a 100-year flood, for example provided by dykes, are highly likely to be inundated before hazardous materials are decomposed. It has to be assumed that inundated landfills become water-saturated, which leads to a substantial mobilisation of pollutants, as the presence of water enhances decomposition and transport processes (2). In addition, water saturation of landfills may lead to mechanical stability losses (3). As landfill sites are predominately located in lowland areas close to residential areas, a permanent risk potential for humans (adverse health effects) and the environment has to be expected resulting from flooded landfills (4).

Potential effects of landfill flooding have been assessed for Austrian landfills mainly composed of municipal solid waste (5). An inventory of landfills in Austria showed 103 sites characterised as controlled landfills and 961 sites identified as uncontrolled landfills with overall volumes of more than 25,000 m3 (6).

One-third of the controlled landfill sites and roughly 30 % of the uncontrolled landfills were identified as highly endangered by floods (landfill located within a flood risk zone or at less than 150 m distance from the flood risk zone, for floods with return periods of 200 years). The majority (60 %) of active controlled landfills are protected by structural measures (e.g. dykes) (in flood-prone areas usually against 100-year flood events); the majority (70 %) of closed controlled sites are unprotected (5). This information is not available for uncontrolled landfills; in general, it is assumed that these sites are not protected at all (7).

The results demonstrated that the load of pollutants from flooded landfills can potentially increase by up to six orders of magnitude, depending on the substance and the underlying assumption of the scenarios. Therefore, the flow of substances from flooded landfills to the environment is significantly high with a corresponding risk. Despite the high dilution potential during a flood event, discharges to rivers are highly likely to exceed the Austrian Water Quality Standards. Inherent uncertainties associated with considered processes and data sources are considerably high, however (5).

In many cases landfills endangered by flooding might be inundated but not eroded during a flood event. The subsequent water saturation of a landfill body can have significant impact on post-flooding landfill metabolism and might be of interest from the perspective of landfill aftercare (5).


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Austria.

  1. Ehrig and Krümpelbeck (2001); Stegmann and Heyer (1995); Belevi and Baccini (1989), all in: Neuhold (2013)
  2. Christensen et al. (1996); Bogner and Spokas (1993); Klink and Ham (1982), all in: Neuhold (2013)
  3. Blight and Fourie (2005), in: Neuhold (2013)
  4. Laner et al. (2009); Neuhold and Nachtnebel (2010), both in: Neuhold (2013)
  5. Neuhold (2013)
  6. AFEA (2008a), in: Neuhold (2013)
  7. Laner et al. (2009), in: Neuhold (2013)

Other countries about this topic