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Previously in ClimateChangePost


How much sea level rise is to be expected at the upper limit of current IPCC scenarios? This question has been dealt with for northern Europe

Potential grass yield in Northern Europe is projected to increase in 2050 compared with 1960–1990, mainly as a result of increased growing temperatures.

Mean and extreme wind speeds in Northern Europe have been projected for the future periods 2046–2065 and 2081–2100 ...


I recommend

National plans/strategies for Estonia

  • Estonia's Sixth National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (2014). Download.

Reports/papers that focus on important Estonian topics

  • Coastal erosion: Tonisson et al. (2011). Changes in coastal processes in relation to changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation, wave parameters and sea levels in Estonia. Download.
  • Storms: Haanpää et al. (2007). Impacts of winter storm Gudrun of 7th – 9th January 2005 and measures taken in Baltic Sea Region. Download.

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.

Weblogs in English and Estonian

Weblogs in Estonian

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EU funded Research Projects



Climate change scenarios

Coastal areas

Droughts and water scarcity


Fresh water resources

Mitigation / adaptation options and costs

Urban areas

Biodiversity Estonia

Vulnerabilities - Terrestrial biodiversity

Compared with other territories of a similar size situated north of the 57th parallel, Estonia’s biological diversity is one of the richest. This is due to the varied climatic conditions, the existence of island and continental sectors, the abundance of sea and inland waters and the variety of base rocks with correspondingly diverse soil conditions, all of which formed the basis for the evolution and development of a wide diversity of ecosystems (1).

Almost 40,000 living species are thought to be represented in Estonia. So far about 26,600 or 67% of them have been found. The other 13,400 species or 34% of biota are yet to be discovered. Although Estonia is a moderately small country by area, it has a relatively great proportion of unspoiled protected nature. This is mainly due to the low human population density – slightly more than 30 inhabitants per square kilometer and even that is very polarized, being almost 2/3 in urban and only 1/3 in rural areas. Not many countries in Europe can afford to have more than 15% of land under nature protection. In Estonia, the figure is almost 18% (1).

The impacts of climate change in Estonia are relatively small compared to the southern and northern regions of Europe. Therefore no significant consequences are expected for biodiversity or public health. Some species may disappear and some new species will probably emerge, but these changes are quite negligible (1).

The start of climatic seasons in the spring period has tended to shift to earlier and in the autumn period has shifted to later. Similar trends have been observed in the whole Nordic region (2). Research has shown that the summer season has lengthened by 11 days during the period 1891 to 1998. Other significant trends were obtained for early winter, winter and the whole thermal growing season. The shortening of the winter season by 30 days is significant even at p < 0.01 level (3).

Long-term changes in phonological phases have trends similar to those of climatic seasons. These results are similar to the changes in thermal growing season observed in Europe by the International Phenological Gardens (4). For example, leaf unfolding has advanced 6 days and leaf colouring in fall has been delayed by 4.8 days per 30 yr of observations in Europe.

Vulnerabilities - Fresh water and wetlands biodiversity

The total area of peatlands measures 100,901 ha and makes up 22.3% of Estonia’s territory. Peat reserves are presently estimated at 2.37 billion metric tons. A small share of the reserves is suitable for animal litter, and the rest are used as fuel or for soil improvement (5).

About 70% of the Estonian mires (peatlands) have been drained for different purposes during the past 100 years, increasing their vulnerability to changes in climatic conditions. … Recent studies suggest that nutrient-poor peatlands may be able to accumulate more carbon in warmer climatic conditions, and nutrient-rich peatlands may become potential additional sources of atmospheric carbon (1).

If the future climate becomes more arid, one might expect the peat layer to decrease. If climate change brings about an increase in moisture, the opposite process may take place, i.e. the amount of soil organic matter could rise (5).It has been stated that there is no doubt that climate warning trends, even only in winter, will increase the deterioration of Estonia’s bog landscapes (6).


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

  1. Ministry of the Environment of Estonia (2009)
  2. Carter (1998), in: Jaagus and Ahas (2000)
  3. Jaagus and Ahas (2000)
  4. Menzel and Fabian (1999), in: Jaagus and Ahas (2000)
  5. O’Brien (ed.) (2000)
  6. Kont et al. (2007)