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Climate, weather risks threatened in next few years

11 Sep 2018, 00:07 ( 9 Months ago)

DF Report
File Photo VisitFinland.

Many of the weather and climate risks threatening Finland over the next few years can be managed by being well prepared, said a press release issued by Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI).

Knowledge of the risks has now been compiled in the project ‘Assessment of Weather and Climate Risks

(SIETO)'. In particular, it is possible to prepare reasonably well for weather phenomena affecting infrastructure and causing immediate danger, such as floods and storms. Risks are feared to increase over the next few decades, which in turn increases the need for preparedness.

Even then it will be possible in the Finnish circumstances to manage risks associated with changing weather and water conditions if the economy develops favourably and society remains stable.

The drought, heat, forest fires and downpours of the summer of 2018 were a reminder that, even in Finland, weather-related phenomena cause major economic and societal impacts. Climate change also changes current threats and causes gradually developing new risks for society, infrastructure and nature.

"Effective management of changing risks increases the wellbeing and safety of people," emphasises the coordinator of the SIETO project Heikki Tuomenvirta, Senior Research Scientist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Risks that are indirectly related to weather and climate conditions are difficult to assess and manage. Examples of these include diseases and pests, some of which are invasive species. These pose risks on human health, the natural environment, agriculture and forestry, and game and fisheries. Another risk category that is difficult to assess and manage are the cross-border effects of climate change. Climate change has various effects, for example, on economic actors and international security, and further on the security of supply and overall security in Finland.

The changing risks are not distributed evenly. Older people are much more vulnerable to the effects of heatwaves than the rest of the population, high income earners have a better chance of protecting themselves, for example, against rising food prices than low income earners, and smaller players in the natural resources sector are not necessarily able to buy insurance against financial damage. The risk of drought is the greatest in south and southwest Finland, where there are few lakes, the groundwater reserves are fragmented, and water use in relation to the water resources available is the greatest.