CRIGiS Kick-off Meeting
The opening event of the project “CRIGiS – Assessment of climate change induced vulnerability, with special focus on tourism and critical infrastructure” was held on 1 June 2015 in Budapest at the headquarters of the Hungarian Meteorological Service (HMS). As part of this project, which is funded by the European Economic Area and is lead by the HMS, indicators are worked out for these concerned sectors to allow tracking vulnerability, and therefore provide an objective background to support adaptation-related policy and decision making. The aim of the event was to inform decision makers, experts investigating the effects of climate change, and media about the tasks, aims and expected results of the project. It also provided an opportunity for those who will potentialy use the project’s results to initiate professional and scientific cooperation.
The event was opened jointly by Krisztina Labancz, Head of the Hungarian Meteorological Service’s Department for Climate and Ambient Air, H. E. Tove Skarstein, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in Budapest, and Márta Szigeti Bonifert, Executive Director of the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC).
Krisztina Labancz has expressed her gratitude for the EEA Fund and the Kingdom of Norway to support national climate research, and highlighted the importance of national and international cooperation, and the role that HMS plays in this regard.
Tove Skarstein has drawn the attention to the need of effective local-level adaption, as well as to the fact that strengthening bilateral relations is an important aim of EEA and Norway Funds. She highlighted: “Those programs, in which there is real relationship and cooperation between the donor and beneficiary countries bring forth numerous values and advantages to both parties”.
Márta Szigeti Bonifert has introduced the REC’s strategy, and in that context introduced the background and working principles of the „Adaptation to climate change” programme. The key aims of the programme include solving the region’s environmental problems, and increasing the knowledge relating to climate change impacts and vulnerability. The CRIGiS project is implemented within the framework of this programme.
The opening speeches were followed by professional presentations, which covered the background and goals of the project. Zsuzsanna Iványi, Senior Expert of the REC has explained in her presentation of the “Adaptation to climate change” programme that one of the most important pillars of the programme is to create, continuously develop, and expand a science-based information system to as many sectors as possible, in order to help the planning and implementation of climate change adaptation measures.
Péter Kajner, project manager of the “Establishment of the National Adaptation Geoinformatic System (NAGiS)” project, has introduced the information system created by the Geological and Geophysical Institute of Hungary and the National Adaptation Centre. This system is a major milestone in the climate policy preparation process of developing appropriate sustainable adaptation and mitigation strategies. As the last speaker, Zita Bihari, project coordinator of CRIGiS has introduced the goals and expected results of the project.
The project, which runs until December 2015, is led by the Hungarian Meteorological Service (HMS), and implemented in cooperation with the National Environmental Health Centre, the National Disaster Management Directorate of the Ministry of Interior, the Department of Climate Studies and Landscape Geography of Szeged Scientific University, and the Department of Economic Geography and Future Studies of the Budapest Corvinus University. Studies focus at the heat wave induced increased death rates, the effects of extremely warm summer days and very cold wet winter days on road accidents, and the analysis of indexes describing the touristic climate potentials.
The basis to develop vulnerability indicators is provided by the homogenised, interpolated measurements in the reference period for the present climate conditions, as well as by regional climate model results used in the HMS to assess expected changes. The National Environmental Health Centre will perform a vulnerability assessment for the reference period, using micro-region death statistics and recorded temperature values. Then, using the daily temperature values provided by the 10 km spatial resolution ALADIN-Climate regional climate model run at HMS, it will forecast the expected change in excess death rate in the period 2021-2050 and 2071-2100. The National Disaster Management Directorate will perform impact assessments to uncover the relationship between climate change and road accidents, using accident statistics and weather indicators of warm summer and dangerous winter situations. The climate change impact on tourism will be researched through a comparative study of economic indicators for the BCE sectors, using two types of touristic climate indexes developed at the HMS and at Szeged University.
The methodology and various indicators developed in the project will be integrated into NAGiS, which can then be used by the impact assessment drafting experts and decision-makers to develop research activities and adaptation strategies.
This kick-off meeting was the first public event of CRIGiS.