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Climate Research

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CR 18:133-140 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/cr018133

Assessing the impact of climate change on the Weser estuary region: an interdisciplinary approach

Michael Schirmer1,*, Bastian Schuchardt2

1Universität Bremen, FB 2, PO Box 330440, 28334 Bremen, Germany
2BioConsult, Lesumstr. 10, 28759 Bremen, Germany

ABSTRACT: In an interdisciplinary project involving life, engineering and socio-economic sciences, the sensitivity to climate change of the hydrologic, ecological and socio-economic properties of the inner Weser estuary and its marshes are analysed and different response strategies are developed and evaluated. To manage the complex interdisciplinary research process, the project has been organised with a stringent Œvertical¹ and Œhorizontal¹ structure. The Œscenario approach¹ is used to take uncertainty into account. The climate change scenario for the year 2050 includes a sea level rise, an increase in tidal amplitude and mean temperature (especially in spring and winter) and an increase in precipitation and wind speed. In the absence of countermeasures a multitude of Œnegative¹ primary effects can be expected, including overtopping of dikes by waves, submersion of forelands, changes in freshwater inflow, residence time and water quality in the estuary and water levels in the drainage systems of the marshes. However, the overall impact for the region can primarily be assessed as Œmedium¹ and, if possible mitigating measures are taken into account, overall impact should be Œlow¹.

KEY WORDS: Climate change · Impact · Estuary · Regional scale · Interdisciplinary · Uncertainty

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