Climate Change in Austria
The results of numerous studies suggest that climate change has been influenced by human activities since the beginning of industrialization and that the process is already well underway.
Since the mid-nineteenth century, records indicate an increase in the average annual temperature in Austria of about 2°C (ZAMG, Auer et al. 2007). This increase is significantly above the global temperature rise of 0.85°C (IPCC 2014). Since the mid-1970s alone, the air temperature in Austria has risen by more than 1°C.
Between 1860 and 2007, rainfall in the north-west Alpine region increased by 10–15%, while the south exhibited a long-term decrease. For the continental north-east, no changes have been observed (Schöner et al. 2010; APCC 2014).
The effects of climate change have been documented in many countries, Austria included: rapid melting of glaciers, thawing of permafrost, increasing numbers of hot days, etc. Of particular interest here is the question of how climate change will affect the human-environment system in the future – for example, through the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events (e.g. heavy rainfall and the resulting floods).