Northwest Europe is experiencing an increase in extreme weather events, such as flooding, drought and wildfires. Extreme weather is strongly associated with climate change and has consequences for our health, cities, infrastructure, agriculture and nature. Researchers from Wageningen are working with Dutch governments and insurance companies to estimate the impact of extreme weather by gathering data in one digital environment: the Climate Impact Monitor.
Extreme weather events can have a major social and economic impact. The storm damage in The Netherlands in mid-June, for example, amounted to around 37 million euros, while the damage caused by the recent floods is also expected to be considerable. There is enough meteorological data on weather extremes, such as how much rain has fallen at which location, but data on climate change impact is not yet being systematically collected.
Information in one place
The Climate Impact Monitor is changing this. It links up data in order to gain knowledge about the relationship between extreme weather and the associated economic and social costs. The Climate Impact Monitor creates one environment with information about the consequences of extreme weather, for example, damage to buildings and motor vehicles, reduced crop yields, disease reports and mortality.
"We are often asked if we are already experiencing the consequences of climate change, but at the moment we cannot say for sure" says Rutger Dankers of Wageningen Environmental Research. "It inspired us to develop the Climate Impact Monitor. By systematically collecting data on extreme weather events and its consequences, we will gain more insight into the impact of climate change. This can lead to issuing early warnings, but also contribute to plans for climate adaptation. For example, it helps cities to see what the effects of measures are, while insurers get a better idea of the expected costs."
Bringing all this data together is still a challenge, says Dankers: "Unlike measurements of temperature or precipitation, data on the impact of these events must come from different sources. That is why we are working together with governments and insurance companies, among others. They are offering their knowledge so that we can gain more insight into the relationship between extreme weather and the economic and social costs."
The Climate Impact Monitor will be developed over the next few years and will eventually grow into a web portal in which the data will be accessible to everyone. Each year an overview will be presented with the latest data, including an overview of the damage data of the Dutch Association of Insurers.
De Klimaat Impact Monitor is een samenwerking tussen Wageningen University & Research, Verbond van Verzekeraars, Climate Adaptation Services (CAS), Stichting RIONED, STOWA en het KNMI. Het initiatief wordt ondersteund door de provincies Gelderland, Utrecht en Noord-Brabant.