From ÖKS15 to Klimaszenarien.AT

Weather and climate have a significant impact on our everyday lives, our environment, and our social and economic systems. In order to be prepared for the risks but also the opportunities of climate change, estimates of the future state of the climate are required.

With the Austrian Climate Scenarios 2015 (ÖKS15), a milestone was set in Austrian climate impact research and climate change adaptation. Whereas national and regional studies were previously based on different sources, the ÖKS15 scenarios unified this basis and created the state-of-the-art data source for Austrian climate scenarios.

As a result, the estimates of the studies became more comparable. Due to the relevance of the ÖKS data within the framework of the climate change adaptation strategies of the federal government, the federal states and the regions and municipalities, the use of the data and applications has also increased steadily.

Since the publication of the ÖKS15 data, there have been significant climate policy developments (for instance the 2015 Paris Agreement), but also new scientific results, innovations in climate modeling techniques as well as publications, such as the latest assessment report (AR6) by the IPCC.

Fig. 1: Development from ÖKS15 to ÖKS26
Development from ÖKS15 to ÖKS26. Source: CCCA

Idea and purpose

In order to take these new social and political framework conditions and requirements into account as well as the current state of climate research, new climate scenarios for Austria are now to be created under the umbrella of the CCCA and under the direction of GeoSphere Austria and the CCCA Service Center.

The aim is to bring together all relevant research actors in Austria to create climate scenarios for the years 2026+ that are user-oriented and at the same time scientifically sound.

In the next generation of Austrian climate scenarios, special emphasis is placed on the topography of Austria and the corresponding challenges of climate models in mountainous regions. The new data should also be more usable for urban areas.

Primary objectives of the Klimaszenarien.AT initiative include:
  • Further development of scientific excellence regarding the Austrian climate scenarios (ÖKS)
  • Well-founded assessment of the robustness of the ÖKS data
  • Extension of the parameter set of the ÖKS
  • Intensive and permanent stakeholder integration to increase the practical applicability of the ÖKS
  • Publication of the new Austrian climate scenarios (ÖKS26) as an update and extension of ÖKS15
  • International cooperation in the creation of the new Austrian climate scenarios in relation to the exchange of knowledge and methods and in the development of joint communication strategies

Framework and process

Klimaszenarien.AT is a cross-institutional initiative to bring together and coordinate research activities in the Austrian climate research community with the aim of deriving a new set of climate scenarios for Austria from project results.
To achieve the goals of the initiative, two framework tasks are defined, overall coordination (A) and coordinating a user-centered community process (B). These tasks will be organized during the whole duration of about 5 years. The concrete research and development of the climate scenarios as well as the central information processing will take place within research projects in two phases:

Phase 1: Scientific preparation and accompanying research on climate scenarios
Phase 2: Climate information and communication

Phases 1 and 2 together represent the transdisciplinary process for information distillation, which provides for early involvement of users and builds on the joint co-creation of knowledge by researchers and practitioners. The ÖKS Steering Committee was founded to coordinate the two framework tasks – overall coordination and community process. The ÖKS Steering Committee intends to coordinate, plan and develop regular updates of the Austrian climate scenarios with the involvement of the CCCA Board and in consultation with the CCCA community as well as relevant stakeholders, practitioners and different groups of stakeholders.

Figure 2: Organizational structure and information development process of the Klimaszenarien.AT initiative to produce user-relevant climate information
Organizational structure and information development process of the Klimaszenarien.AT initiative to produce user-relevant climate information. Source: CCCA