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New Austrian Climate Report Published
Impacts in the Alpine Republic already greater than elsewhere in Europe

According to the new report by the Austrian Panel on Climate Change, the average temperature in Austria has already risen by two degrees since 1880.

Image from 2004 shows glaciers in the Grossglockner Range were already receeding significantly
Richard Stiles / CC BY
Image from 2004 shows glaciers in the Grossglockner Range were already receeding significantly
 This change compares with an average rise of 0.85 degrees in Europe as a whole and 0.5 degrees worldwide over the same time period, while in Austria there has been a 0.5 degree rise since 1980.

The 1000 page Austrian report, which builds on the IPCC study, is recognised as representing the current state of the art in climate research, The land-locked location and the altitude of most of the territory are to blame, say a team of over 200 experts who have researched and published the new national climate report.

Over the last 130 years amounts of sunshine have increased by some 20% in the Alps and glaciers are already in an advanced state of retreat. Without urgent action it is feared that there will be a further rise of 3.5 degrees Celsius by the year 2100.

 The particular geographical conditions prevailing in Austria make it particularly sensitive to global climate change and the economy, as well as the environment, is likely to be severely affected. The winter tourism industry, which accounts for a significant part of the above average prosperity in rural alpine regions, is particularly at risk, and is already partly dependent on artificial snow in some years at lower altitudes.

However, it is not just the Alps which are affected: the hottest area of the country is the inner city of Vienna. There a significant increase in the number of days when the temperature will exceed 30°C are forecast to rise by the middle of the century to 30, and to 50 by the end of the century (the 30 year average for such 'tropical days' until 2000 was less than 18).

The Austrian Environment Minister accepts that the changes were largely due to human actions and not natural causes, but also made it clear that climate change can no longer be prevented.

Adaptation measures, including flood protection, were consequently necessary alongside further efforts towards climate protection. However, fundamental changes in society and the end of fossil fuel use were also called for by NGOs.

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18. Sep 2014
Reported by Richard Stiles, Vienna


climate change (en), alpine landscapes (en)

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