The effects of climate change in Switzerland are manifold. The second phase of the pilot programme focuses on six topics, with a total of 50 projects running in all parts of the country.
Increase in heat stress
Current climate scenarios are not only based on an increase in average temperatures. Maximum temperatures will increase even more dramatically, in particular during the summer and in conurbations. High temperatures and more frequent heat events have far-reaching consequences for humans, animals and the environment. Critical situations arise in particular during more intense heat waves, as these place a strain on the population and can be life-threatening for elderly and sick people, persons in need of care, and also small children and pregnant women.
Increase in summer drought
With an increase in temperatures, water reserves that are currently bound as snow and glacial ice are disappearing. At the same time, longer rain-free periods can be expected. This development is contrasted by a sharp increase in the water demand on hot days. Although our country has large reserves, water can become scarce in local regions in the summer. These changes have an impact on ecosystems and all water users, and competitive situations can arise. This mainly concerns agriculture, which is dependent on a sufficient supply for its cultures.
Increase in flood risk, decrease in slope stability and more frequent land movements
Climate change causes more frequent and more intensive floods in Switzerland. Moreover, in the Alps, melting glaciers and thawing permafrost compromise the stability of the ground. This results in more landslides, rockfalls, rockslides and debris flows. In medium and low altitudes, heavy rainfall and retreating snowlines increase the danger of erosion and flowslides. This endangers settlements, transport routes, infrastructure and agricultural land.
Changes to habitats, species composition, and the landscape
The changes in temperature and rainfall affect the habitats of animal and plant species. This results in local changes in species composition. These changes are likely to have a negative impact on ecosystem services (e.g. soil fertility, protection from erosion, carbon storage), at least in the beginning. Positive effects are only to be expected in the long term, if at all. The changes mainly concern forestry and agriculture, where they create new conditions for cultivation and production.
Spreading of pests, diseases and non-native species
Climate change promotes the spread of pests and invasive, non-native species. These can cause extensive damage in agriculture and forestry. However, the health of humans and animals can also be endangered by the arrival and spread of new pathogens and disease vectors.
Raising of awareness, information and coordination
The people affected need to be informed about the consequences of climate change so that they can adapt in a targeted way. Many municipalities, regions and cantons are only just starting to develop possible solutions and create networks. The necessary knowledge is often dispersed and does not target the groups concerned. Adaptation to climate change will only succeed if all players collabo-rate across technical and organisational borders.
Last modification 18.02.2021