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In the Carpathian Region, heat wave events have become more frequent, longer, more severe and intense over the period 1961 - 2010, in particular in summer

The summer of 2012 was very hot and dry in South-East Europe. From model simulations and observations it was concluded that the magnitude and frequency of heat waves have increased

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 2010, Hungary became one of the top 5 exporters of maize in the world. Under current conditions, crop systems are mainly rain fed, and water licences are massively underexploited.

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 ...

In response to climate change soil erosion hazard is expected to increase, drought hazard is expected to become a serious problem in ...

The impacts of the simulated climate change on the air quality are rather weak for the mid-century 2041−2050 ...

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I recommend

National plans/strategies for Hungary

  • Sixth National Communication of Hungary  to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (2014). Download.
  • Climate change and Hungary: mitigating the hazards and preparing for the impacts. Download.

Reports/papers that focus on important Hungarian topics

  • Lake Balaton: Somlyódy and Honti (2005). The case of Lake Balaton: how can we exercise precaution.
  • Tourism: Rátz and Vizi (2004). The impacts of global climate change on water resources and tourism: the responses of Lake Balaton and Lake Tisza. 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 Hungarian

Weblogs in Hungarian

  • ...

EU funded Research Projects

Agriculture

Aquifers

Climate change scenarios

Climate change impacts and vulnerabilities

Droughts and water scarcity

Floods

Fresh water resources

Mitigation / adaptation options and costs

Transport, Infrastructure and Building

Urban areas

Transport, Infrastructure and Building Hungary

Vulnerabilities Hungary - Buildings

Wind damage

If the intensity and frequency of events with extreme wind pressures would change, this would mean increasing loads on the buildings, affecting their stability and also the way of fixing of the external lining materials and the complete reconsideration of their structure might be needed (1).

Impacts of precipitation and changing groundwater conditions

      

Extreme weather conditions result in short-time rainfalls of high intensity and they have an impact on the buildings. Consequently the applicability of various watertight insulating facilities should be reviewed in conjunction with the sinks, drains and water conveying facilities. Rainfalls of high intensity have their impact also on the paved spaces around the buildings and will considerably affect the design of rainwater drainage and sewer systems including the shafts of the sinks (1).

The design of foundation and other underground structures of buildings are also affected by high intensity rainfall. Namely, the periodically occurring soaking-drying process causes (especially in clay soil) the “lifting of buildings” (e.g. rising and sinking of buildings). The hydraulic pressure of groundwater levels means an extra load on subsurface structures (cellar, basement), which also need altered design requirements (1).

Urban heat island effect

The forecasted average temperature rise in the summer months will cause a signifi cant warming of the inner and external parts of the buildings. Natural green areas are replaced by the masses of buildings, the cleaning and cooling effect of wind is attenuated by the blocks of the buildings. This harmfully affects the health and comfort feeling of the citizens (1).

Vulnerabilities Hungary - Infrastructure

Small increases in climate extremes above thresholds or regional infrastructure ‘tipping points’ have the potential to result in large increases in damages to all forms of existing infrastructure nationally and to increase disaster risks (7). Since infrastructure systems, such as buildings, water supply, flood control, and transportation networks often function as a whole or not at all, an extreme event that exceeds an infrastructure design or ‘tipping point’ can sometimes result in widespread failure and a potential disaster (8).

Vulnerabilities Hungary - Transport - Shipping

In Europe, the highest amount of cargo by means of inland waterways is transported in the Rhine–Main–Danube corridor. In this corridor, no decrease in the performance of inland waterway transport due to extreme weather events is expected till 2050 (11). Extreme weather events relevant to inland waterway transport are low-water events (drought), high-water events (floods) and ice occurrence. Of less importance are wind gusts and reduced visibility. There is no convincing evidence that low-water events will become significantly severer on the Rhine as well as the Upper Danube in the near future. However, on the Lower Danube, some impact of drought in association with increased summer heat might appear. Severe low-water situations seem to become more important in the period 2071–2100. A quantitative conclusion on the future effects of high water on inland waterways cannot be drawn at this stage (11).

Ice occurrence is decreasing, due to global warming, as well as human impacts leading to shorter periods of suspension of navigation in regions where navigation may be prevented by ice. In fact, the Upper and Middle Rhine navigation has not been suspended due to ice since at least the 1970s (12). For the near future (until 2050), wind gusts are expected to remain on the same level as today (13), thereby not decreasing the safety of inland waterway transport. Visibility seems to improve, if the results for European airports are considered (13), thereby improving the safety of inland waterway transport as well as operation of inland waterway vessels.

The impact of hydrological changes on navigation conditions for the Rhine-Main-Danube corridor has been studied for a number of climate change projections (for the River Rhine: 27 projections including different emission scenarios; for the Upper River Danube: 20 projections including emission scenario A1B only). Estimated changes are generally given for the period 1950 to 2050, sometimes also for the period 1850 to 2100. Four impacts were studied: low flow, floods, ice and visibility (fog) (9). The results are summarized in the table below.


Current conditions:

  • Low-flow threshold: In this study, the low water threshold for navigation has been defined as the 95th percentile of the flow-duration curve for the period 1961-1990. For the River Rhine this threshold is currently (1961-1990) undershot on about 18 days per year. For the River Danube, where only monthly discharge data are available, this threshold is interpreted as the number of months the monthly 95th percentile is undershot in a 30-year period (at the gauge Vienna). Since the 1970s the number of days with discharge lower than the low-flow threshold has decreased at the Rhine gauges Kaub and Ruhrort. Beginning in the early 1990s there was a decade with only a few days below this threshold. The year 2003 was the first year of a period when longer low flow situations re-occurred. At the gauges on the River Danube similar tendencies were observed during the 20th century as on the River Rhine.
  • Floods: At high water levels, navigation may be restricted in terms of speed limits, the concentration of traffic in the centre of the fairway (to reduce wave stress on the lateral infrastructure) and (at the highest threshold) a general stoppage of navigation. For both the Rhine and the Danube, neither a trend nor a tendency is obvious from the data at the studied gauges.
  • River ice: With respect to the Rhine-Main-Danube corridor, ice is mainly an issue for the River Main, the RMD canal and the River Danube. Since 1950 the number of days with stoppage of navigation due to river ice has decreased.
  • Visibility: Meteorological phenomena can reduce visibility and thus can harm vessels that navigate on sight. Vessels without radar systems can be stopped according to official regulations. But also vehicles with radar have to operate with care, which often means loss of time due to speed limits and slower manoeuvring. A distinct reduction of the number of days per year with low visibility has been observed at all stations in the 1970s. This may be the result of a strong decline of aerosol emissions over Europe (10).

Future conditions:

  • Low-flow threshold: In this study, the low water threshold for navigation has been defined as the 95th percentile of the flow-duration curve for the period 1961-1990. For the River Rhine this threshold is currently (1961-1990) undershot on about 18 days per year. For the River Danube, where only monthly discharge data are available, this threshold is interpreted as the number of months the monthly 95th percentile is undershot in a 30-year period (at the gauge Vienna). For the near future (up to 2021-2050) all discharge projections for the Rhine except one show that the number of days below the low-flow threshold for 1961-1990 will remain in the range that has been observed since the 1950s at gauge Kaub. For the distant future (2071-2100) some projections still show a reduced number of days below this threshold, while a majority of the projections shows a higher than present number of days below this threshold. These projections show a continuation of the shift of the low-flow season from winter to summer, which has already been observed in the last decades. The low-flow situations tend to become more extreme (in terms of intensity and duration) at the end of the 21st century. For the Danube (at gauge Vienna) the majority of the projections for the near future (2021-2050) shows a moderate increase in the number of months below this low-flow threshold, whereas the distant future (2071-2100) shows that the present low-flow threshold will be undershot more frequently. The shift of the low-flow season from winter towards summer is simulated to occur in the distant future (not in the near future).
  • Floods: At high water levels, navigation may be restricted in terms of speed limits, the concentration of traffic in the centre of the fairway (to reduce wave stress on the lateral infrastructure) and (at the highest threshold) a general stoppage of navigation. In this study the flood threshold for the River Rhine was defined as a discharge that is exceeded on 3% of the days per year in the mean of the period 1961-1990. For the River Danube this definition could not be applied because only monthly discharge data were available. For the near future (up to 2021-2050), most of the projections for the Rhine point towards a higher number of days than at present when navigation is restricted due to floods. Most projections are clustered in a range between 11 and 20 days per year. For the distant future (2071-2100), the span of results is much wider; also here, a majority of the projections shows more days above the threshold, ranging between 8 and more than 30 days per year. For the Upper Danube no clear picture can be given yet of the future development in the number of days with restricted navigation due to high flow.
  • River ice: With respect to the Rhine-Main-Danube corridor, ice is mainly an issue for the River Main, the RMD canal and the River Danube. The number of days with stoppage of navigation due to river ice will continue to decrease. The projected reduction towards ever less restrictions for navigation due to river ice is particularly pronounced in the last decades of the 21st century.
  • Visibility: Meteorological phenomena can reduce visibility and thus can harm vessels that navigate on sight. Vessels without radar systems can be stopped according to official regulations. But also vehicles with radar have to operate with care, which often means loss of time due to speed limits and slower manoeuvring. Due to current limitations of the regional climate models it is not possible to directly conclude on the number of days with fog occurrence for future time horizons. Besides, also non-climatic factors (such as effects of urbanisation) control fog formation.

Table: Summary of (projected) effects of climate and hydrological change on navigation on the Rhine-Main-Danube corridor for the second half of the 20th century (tendency 1950 to 2005), the mid 21st century (change 2021-2050 vs. 1961-1990) and the end of the 21st century (change 2071-2100 vs. 1961-1990). The findings marked by * were not directly observed or modelled but concluded from other findings (e.g. approximate indicators, neighbouring regions or from literature) (10).

Adaptation strategies

Buildings

Important factors are (1):

  • decreasing the loss of heat, increasing heat-insulation values; this means the use of 14-20 cm thick active heat-insulation layer;
  • decreasing of the summer-time heat income with the help of ventilated and shaded wall and roof structures, which enable the diversion of about 30% of the heat fl ux, caused by solar radiation from the building;
  • eliminating the unwanted effects of “thermal-bridges”;
  • installation of air-tight, heat-insulating and shaded doors and windows;
  • enhancing the wide spread propagation of green roofs and green walls;
  • providing appropriate shading and compass directions and ventilation for the buildings and also for barns and stables.  More green areas that enhance heat-loss. Air conditioners will not provide long-term solution, neither for buildings nor for live-stock breeding constructions as they are large energy consumers and emit hot air when in operation;
  • building materials of larger strength will be needed for both all kind of buildings (homes, commercial and farming buildings) and their supporting frames;
  • one must take into account the damaging movement of soil in foundations, firstly in clayey soils, due to the increased desiccation, the loss of moisture. In the case of large storms wind pressures and suction pressure differences should be taken into account along with the effects of off-spinning vortices. It is desirable to follow advises and adapt the rules and measures of the EU’s Energy Performance of Building Directive.

Besides it is also important to (1):

  • change the attitude of both the people who have the buildings built and of the professionals
    who design and build the buildings;
  • develop reliable methods for assessing the parameter values also considering the expectable peak-stress conditions, which will be the basis of the planning/designing process;
  • develop new design guidelines;
  • educate and train experts and professionals for the required special knowledge, so as
    they would be able to solve the tasks that come along with the changing climate.

Soviet-era buildings

Soviet-era panel-style buildings are an important consideration when planning for climate change in the region. Most block flats, which were designed to have a lifespan of about thirty years, already were in disrepair at the time the regimes fell (2). Bulgaria, for instance, recently indicated that 10% of its panel dwellings were in need of urgent repairs (2) while the Slovak Ministry of Construction estimated that it would cost over 10.3 billion Euros and take more than thirty years to complete the structural repairs necessary to ensure the safety of these buildings (3).

Although they are in need of basic renovation, there is growing evidence that panel buildings, both block flats used for housing and public buildings of similar construction, have the potential to be efficiently renovated and to incorporate energy-saving retrofits. The major aspects of retrofitting focus on energy-saving measures. These include thermal insulation, replacement windows, and modernization of central heating systems. In addition to these measures, green roofing is being tested as a further means for improving the quality of living spaces as well as a way to manage fluctuations in precipitation. Studies suggest that rooftop gardens:

  • help to control interior temperature, by decreasing the heat entering and exiting a building through the roof, and thus reduce energy demand (4). Widespread introduction of gardens will add to urban greenspace and, in the process, help moderate heat island effects.
  • can reduce the level of runoff and moderate the potential of flooding during heavy rainfall (4,5).
  • assist in harvesting rainwater. The basic idea is that rainwater is filtered into storage tanks and then used for non-potable activities such as laundry, toilets, and watering plants (6).

Infrastructure

In making long-term programmes, plans, concepts and development plans for infrastructures (such as building power stations, or investments in traffi c-and-transportation) the preparation of climate-impact studies, as parts of the strategic environmental impact assessment, should be carried out (1).

References

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

  1. Farago et al. (2010)
  2. Iliev and Yuksel (2004), in: Carmin and Zhang (2009)
  3. CiJ (2008), in: Carmin and Zhang (2009)
  4. Bass and Baskaran (2001), in: Carmin and Zhang (2009)
  5. Hadley and Carter (2006), in: Carmin and Zhang (2009)
  6. Carmin and Zhang (2009)
  7. Coleman (2002); Munich Re (2005); Auld (2008b); Larsen et al. (2008); Kwadijk et al. (2010); Mastrandrea et al. (2010), all in: IPCC (2012)
  8. Ruth and Coelho (2007); Haasnoot et al. (2009), both in: IPCC (2012)
  9. Nilson et al. (2012)
  10. Van Oldenborgh et al. (2010), in: Nilson et al. (2012)
  11. Schweighofer (2014)
  12. WSD Südwest (2009), in: Schweighofer (2014)
  13. Vajda et al. (2011), in: Schweighofer (2014)
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