Adaptation to Climate Change
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The climate in Europe will change during the twenty-first century. Model predictions indicate that the mean annual temperature will rise by between 1 and 5.5°C. While annual precipitation is likely to increase in the north and decrease in the south, the intensity of daily precipitation and the probability of extreme precipitation intensities may increase in all regions. Mean annual wind speeds are expected to increase in the northern regions as well, while possibly decreasing in the Mediterranean regions. Extreme wind speeds may increase in western and central Europe and in the North Sea area. As a consequence of climate change, the sea level in some areas is likely to rise by up to 0.9 m by the end of the century. Climate change will modify actual risk levels and therefore challenge design guidelines and procedures for the operation and maintenance of the road infrastructure. There will be an increase in unusual climatic events, with significant impacts on infrastructure, operations, and the economy as a whole. For road owners, adaptation to climate change should be included in current and future procedures covering all aspects of road planning, design, maintenance, and operation.