SW-1 :: Climate change effects on surface and ground water and ground conditions (mitigation and adaptation)

The European research and innovation Roadmap for Climate Services (DG Research and Innovation 2015) has stated that there is a strong need for research and innovation in order to make climate services more relevant, credible and assessable to its users. In Sweden, the effects of a changing climate on social, economic and ecological systems, as well as accessibility to sustainably produced renewable energy are issues that are fairly high on the research agenda. According to the expert panel associated with the Formas report “Scope and effects of Swedish climate research” (Formas 2015d), the most important societal challenge within the climate area is the conversion to a more sustainable and climate-safe society with reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The panel further asserted that much of the basic research on climate issues in Sweden has been done within the natural sciences and that there is a need to broaden the research field to include social sciences and humanities, as well as trans- disciplinary and applied research. An example of this would be improved use of climate services for cost-efficient and sustainable community development.
The subject is also elaborated in The Swedish Background report: Checkpoint 2015 on climate change adaptation (Andersson et al 2015). The report concluded that there is not necessarily a lack of climate adaptation research, but rather a gap in how the research is being packaged and communicated to the research community and to stakeholders.
Following the conceptual model of INSPIRATION, specific topics marked “SH” originate in stakeholder interviews and the workshop and those marked “CN” originate in general research goals identified in the Swedish innovation and research bill, evaluations of Swedish research or identified by other concerned research centres.
• How to adapt energy efficient buildings and construction to climate change? (CN)
• How to adapt water- and agriculturally based production businesses to climate change? (CN)
Why? Societal decision makers that deal with climate change mitigation and adaptation measures (local, regional and national authorities and private businesses) need a robust evidence base in order to make informed decisions and enact cost-effective adaptation and mitigation measures. More research on the role of climate services and ecosystem services is important for addressing this.
Natural capital
• How to increase carbon storage while increasing wood and biomass production in forestry? (CN)
• How to maintain or increase agricultural productivity in a changing climate (crop selection, plant breeding, cultivation, soil preparation and water management)? (SH)
• How to prevent or minimise risks for infectious diseases in agriculture due to climate change? (CN)
• How to assess expected soil erosion and compaction in agro systems due to climate change? (CN)
• How geotechnical characteristics of ground conditions and soil stability are affected by more frequent extreme weather events such as torrential rains and flooding due to climate change to minimise risks for landslides and erosion together with their impacts? (CN)
• How sea level rise due to climate change and affects coastal erosion?
Why? There is a still growing need to assess how climate change impacts on various elements in the natural environment and particularly how these impacts in turn affect one another. This includes the needs for understanding of ecosystem dynamics, the ecology and regulatory mechanisms in the natural systems affected by climate change and development of ways to access the effects of climate change on ecosystems (adaptive traits, change in biodiversity, extinction rates, and migrating species)
Land management
• How can tools be developed for climate change adapted planning of the urban environment (storm water treatment and management, waste water systems, ground water levels, green and blue areas, cool areas etc.)?
• How does a changing climate affect ground stability, increased risk for landslides and a safe infrastructure for transportation and building? Models need to be developed.
• How can agricultural methods be adapted to a changing climate and how to manage potential risks? (CN)
• How to integrate climate change adaptation into forest planning and management? (CN)
Why? Climate change effects, mitigation and adaptation are issues that cross a number of disciplinary, sectorial, jurisdictional and administrative boundaries. There is still a need to develop methods to concretely address climate change in an intersectoral manner. Thus it is important that research take a broad, process-oriented focus on addressing problem-based governance and land management issues.
Net impacts
• What is needed for long term monitoring and evaluation of climate change adaptation actions in order to prioritize measures?
• How to achieve integration of approaches, solutions and policies in the nexus between the use of water, energy and food to support an efficient and sustainable utilization of natural resources? (CN)
• How can we develop standards and protocols for data in support of vulnerability and risk assessments, and decision-support systems?
Why? These issues deal with specific impacts of climate change within various types of territories (rural, urban, geological specificities etc.) and thus can lead to a better implementation of land use management and/or spatial planning.