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Austria

Storms

There is a lot of cross-border information on storms in Northern, Western and Central Europe. This information is summarized on the page for Europe in the window 'Storms: European scale'. Additional information that specifically refers to individual countries is presented on the Storm pages of these countries.

Vulnerabilities

With ongoing population growth, economic development, and urban sprawl on the one hand and very few extreme events causing severe damage from the early to the late 20th century on the other hand, more and more buildings have been placed in exposed areas. Accordingly, the damage potential of floods, mudflows, landslides or winter storms has become much larger. Climate change adds a new risk to this situation as the frequency and magnitude of extreme events increases (1).

According to a study by Swiss Re and ETH Z├╝rich (2,3), winter storms represent the largest loss potential for Europe. Results indicate that by the end of the 21st century (2071-2100), total losses in Europe could increase by 20 to 70% (compared to the reference period 1961-1990).

The scenarios for storms are very uncertain. Some models indicate that the frequency of storms is likely to decrease in central Europe. At the same time, the intensity of storms will probably increase (2). Generally the tracks of cyclones and storms are expected to shift polewards, which would reduce the probability of Austria. Systematic analyses of long term homogeneous pressure observations (4) indicate no increase in the frequency of extreme Atlantic storm systems in the Austrian Danube basin within the last decades (5).

Adaptation strategies

Significant financial resources will be needed for the implementation of measures to adapt to changes in the magnitude of extreme events. However, compared to the estimated cost of inaction (3), adaptation will cost only a fraction and has multiple benefits which are going far beyond the reduction of risk in relation to climate change (1).

In Austria no forestry insurance is active but a catastrophic fund is in place (7).

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 Austria.

  1. Federal Office for the Environment FOEN of Switzerland (Ed.) (2009)
  2. Swiss Re (2006), in: Federal Office for the Environment FOEN of Switzerland (Ed.) (2009)
  3. Frei et al. (2006), in: Federal Office for the Environment FOEN of Switzerland (Ed.) (2009)
  4. Ecoplan (2007), in: Federal Office for the Environment FOEN of Switzerland (Ed.) (2009)
  5. Matulla et al. (2008), in: Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management of Austria (2010)
  6. Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management of Austria (2010)
  7. Gardiner et al. (2010)

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