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Extreme Weather impacts on European Networks of Transport

State of the Art - Background

Even though climate change has been studied widely, most of the studies concern the mitigation issues. The studies dealing with transport in relation to climate change adaptation are rare.

The IPCC reports on the impacts of climate change and the Stern Review Report has only little to say about potential impacts on the transport systems.

The EVASERVE project in 2007 ( collected a database of approximately 100 different studies on weather-related impacts on transportation operations and infrastructure management logistic operations and evaluated the benefits of meteorological services.

The most comprehensive database regarding extreme weather conditions in Europe is the European Severe Weather Database ( which was initiated in 2002 (Dotzek et al., 2007).

Watkiss et al (2005) provide a review and analysis of the impacts and economic costs from climate change on infrastructure and tourism. Some studies dealt with European climate change mitigation or adaptation, e.g. ADAM (Adaptation and mitigation strategies). However, most studies deal with safety and security of transport or future climate circumstances in different parts of Europe.

EWENT will deliver extremely important and novel information on the costs and impacts of extreme weather events on European transport systems.


The goal of EWENT is to estimate and monetise the disruptive effects of extreme weather events on the operation and performance of the EU transportation system. EWENT will also evaluate the efficiency, applicability and finance needs for adoption and mitigation measures which will reduce the cost of weather impacts.

EWENT will begin by identifying the hazardous phenomena, their probability and consequences and proceed to assessing the expected economic losses caused by extreme weather when it impacts the European transport system. It will also take into account the current and expected future quality of weather forecasting and warning services within Europe.

EWENT will apply the IEC 60300-3-9 risk management standard framework.

Description of Work

The methodological approach is based on generic risk management, starting with the identification of hazardous extreme weather phenomena, followed by impact assessments and concluding with mitigation and risk control measures.

The project's working methods are:

1. Identification and definition of hazards on EU transport systems caused by extreme weather phenomena and the development of the most relevant scenarios.

2. Estimation of the 'probabilities of risk' scenarios caused by extreme weather phenomena; this is done by mode and time axis (operational vs. strategic risks).

3. Estimation of consequences of hazards - based on empirical experiences and applied to scenarios - on EU transport infrastructure and operations, first on infrastructure, then on operations and finally on supply chains and mobility.

4. Monetising harmful consequences per mode as part of the risk evaluation, on both infrastructure and operations (including mobility and supply chain impacts).

5. Risk assessment based on impact evaluation and options for reduction and control of harmful events in the short and long term.

6. The effectiveness analysis of different management and policy options. This includes the assessment of feasible options in terms of required investments, intergovernmental co-operation, risk management tools and functional decision-making processes.

Expected Results

The results of the projects are:

- Advanced and more detailed weather forecasting models which improve public services and lead to the development of new commercial services.

- Improved knowledge of impacts on transport economy, freight and business operations, which give the experts the possibility to develop new services.

- Improved knowledge of impacts on physical infrastructure and on human safety and security, which give countries and the EU the possibility to create new standards and guidelines for infrastructure design and civil protection.

The short-term viewpoint is focused on monitoring processes and forecasting, and warning/alarm services on weather phenomena. The long-term view provides the starting point for planning and standard setting.

Getting into the correct lane
Getting into the correct lane