Project Overview

ToPDAd's Challenge, Objective and Approach

The Challenge

Climate change impacts are already being felt across Europe and will affect infrastructure and the services sector. Especially in densely populated urban areas infrastructures for transport and energy will increasingly be put at risk. Floods in central and northern Europe are affecting road transport. Skiing stations in the Alps see a drop in revenues due to a decreased snow cover in the winter season, while Mediterranean beach tourism is facing increasing summer temperatures. ToPDAd assists decision makers in different sectors and across different decision making levels in taking a more strategic and effective approach to climate change adaptation.

Project Objectives

ToPDAd's objective is to support businesses and regional governments in determining the best strategies for adapting to the expected short term and long term changes in the climate. The project focuses on the energy, tourism and transport sectors.


ToPDAd has developed a state-of-the-art, tool set of methodologies and models, based on regional climate scenarios. The methodology was illustrated in seven regional case studies from three sectors – tourism, transport and energy, while also looking at wider consequences across the economy.  ToPDAd allows estimating the cost of inaction versus selected adaptation measures.

Sector Challenges

Climate change is affecting tourism

Climate is an important resource for tourism. ToPDAd has developed a tool set to assess the economic effects of climate change on beach tourism during the summer season (May-October) and alpine skiing during the winter season (November-April). The models map potential changes in overnight stays within the summer and winter season respectively, as well as changes in tourism flows, including shifts between regions, time and activity.

For the first time, ToPDAd evaluates whether an increase in summer tourism in typical skiing areas could compensate for a loss in overnight stays during winter, across Europe. In addition, it is assessed whether growth of beach tourism during shoulder seasons could compensate for possible decreases during summer.

ToPDAd also offers improved modelling of the effects of climate change at beach destinations. Using a new climate index, which puts more weight on precipitation, climatic change impacts in beach destinations can be forecast with more certainty.

ToPDAd's results on the tourism sector are summarized in the factsheet "HOW WILL CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECT TOURISM FLOWS IN EUROPE? - Adaptation options for beach and ski tourists assessed by ToPDAd models"

Adaptation and resiliency of the transport sector

Transport infrastructure consists of a widely connected system, with a high degree of exposure to weather conditions. With climate change, extreme weather events are set to increase. Extreme rainfall or heat can cause damage to infrastructure like railway tracks and catenary, roads or bridge, contribute to perturbations of traffic and operations, or put the health of travelers at risk.

On the longer term, global warming will also lead to changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, and sea level rise. Transport operators are faced with higher air conditioning costs or longer runways for some airports, among other effects.

ToPDAd assesses in particular the following adaptation strategies:

  • travel information in urban transport systems;
  • investment in physical adaptation strategies to prevent flooding in urban areas;
  • the optimal timing of investments in the transport sector, given disruptions caused by climate change.

ToPDAd's results on the transport sector are summarized in the factsheet "ADAPTATION AND RESILIENCE OF THE TRANSPORT SECTOR"

Securing the EUs' energy future

The energy system of the EU is increasingly strained: a growing demand is running ahead of investment in new energy generation capacity. Climate change will exacerbate the strain, by increasing the demand for low-carbon, renewable energy sources, but also by potential shifts in energy demand during winter and summer as temperatures increase.

ToPDAd has brought together economic, energy, climate and social models to provide a glimpse into how the energy system might evolve over the coming decades. It identifies the points of greatest vulnerability of the energy system to climate impacts. 

The project determines the impacts of energy policy and climate on the composition of the energy system over time. It considers how a changing climate might affect variable, weather-dependent renewable electricity production, and how the overall electricity supply system responds to those effects. This provides a picture of how the energy systems of the EU might adapt to a changing climate in the coming decades to meet supply and demand, while also taking into account projections of growth in the economy and population. 

ToPDAd's results on the energy sector are summarized in the factsheet "SECURING THE EU'S ENERGY FUTURE - Adapting our energy system to climate change"