Climate Change in the Danube Region

The occasion of the event was the European Union's current presidency of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube (ICPDR). Following a brief presentation by the ICPDR President Peter Gammeltoft, representatives from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW), presented the winning projects for the Danube Art Master 2017 environmental art competition along with artistic water videos, developed in collaboration with the Vienna University of Applied Arts.

Professor Wolfram Mauser, Department Chair for Physical Geography and Remote Sensing at the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) Munich continued the proceedings with a kick-off talk on climate change in the Danube basin, reflecting on the problems of the adaptation strategies in the region. The talk was an excellent transition to the final panel discussion, reflecting the problems of adaptation strategies in the Danube river basin.

The core statements on climate changes and its impact on the Danube can be summarized as follows:

  • The warming of water temperature between 0,3 – 0,5°C per decade is now a reality
  • Relocation of high and low-pressure areas; the Danube is now forming a border between arid south and wet north.
  • A clear decrease in precipitation in summer and an increase in winter.
  • Reduction of outflow in dry periods (effects on hydropower, navigation, etc.).

It is no longer a question of averting climate change, but rather of finding a broadly coordinated approach to the trend of the Danube turning into Mediterranean waters The consequences will not only affect the Danube itself and its flora and fauna, but also agriculture (irrigation) and the population (i.e. floods).

These adverse effects can only be managed with cross-border cooperation and jointly coordinated measures. The ICPDR provides an exemplary platform for tackling these challenges.

Read more in the ICPDR climate adaptation strategy.

Photo credits: ICPDR / Ouriel Morgensztern