Climate change recommendations from SILMAS

Lucia Borasi, Alberto Maffiotti, Damien Zanella, Gabriel Fink, Thomas Wolf, Bernd Wahl, Maurizio Siligardi, Barbara Zennaro, Liselotte Schulz, Georg Santner, Roswitha Fresner, Till Harum, Albrecht Leis, Christian Reszler

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Adapting to climate change is a process that, as a complement to mitigation process, reduces the consequences of global warming (IPCC, 2007). Many impacts of climate change on lake ecosystem can be effectively addressed through adaptation, in particular short term impacts, while increasing the magnitude of the climate change impact the options for an effective adaptation diminish, while associated costs increase. Adaptation will require technical know-how, funding and substantial businesses, requires coordination between individual actions (e.g., farmers) and public policies (e.g., water management), and requires political will and the presence of adequate institutional structures (e.g., risk management).
Adaptation of an lake ecosystem to climate change can be either natural (resilience) or there may be options for adapting human activities. Among them there are those named "hard", i.e. infrastructure and technology, characterized by long times and more investments, and those named "soft", that is non-structural systems based on optimization of resource management and risk prevention. For example the adaptation options for water supply from one hand could be the water reuse, the water transport, the building of dams and water storage, and from the other hand the demand management and the changing dam operational rules.
In general adaptation can be efficient to reduce (some) climate change impacts.
But adaptation is not an easy task: in several economic sectors, climate change should already be included in decision-making frameworks, especially where infrastructures are being constructed.
Because of uncertainty, inadequate adaptation strategy can worsen the situation. Innovative strategies that improve robustness to climate change situation could be proposed. Soft adaptation strategies are often better able to manage uncertainty than hard adaptation strategies. Actually, soft adaptation strategies should be considered very seriously and be the topic of more research, as, responding to needs of local authority, imply environmental benefits, even on a large scale, creating significant synergies with the environmental sustainability policies. These forms of adaptation, if on the one hand are more easily achievable, require the formation of an active social and cultural context, together with the capacity of governance.
Sustainable Instrument for lakes management tools in Alpine Space (SILMAS) project, co-funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) within the Alpine Space Programme, involved 14 partners of 5 countries (Italy, France, Austria, Slovenia and Germany) leaded by Region Rhône-Alpes (France).
Within SILMAS project, Work Package 4 “Alpine Lakes running changes” (WP4), leaded by ARPA Piemonte (Italy), worked on analysis of effects on climate change on lakes ecosystem, sharing methods and frames of references, and testing models in main types of lakes, to identify likely scenarios in which lakes could be involved.
WP4 was designed as a virtual laboratory producing a dynamic vision of each situation, positioned into identified general trends and related to environmental requirements.
Since lakes are complex dynamic systems, interacting with local environment and connected to the water cycle, WP4 followed first two parallel ways to throw light on lakes evolution factors due to human activities and climatic variability: the biological approach and the physical/chemical approach, specifying lakes bodies and trends by collecting and integration of ecosystem indices, related to climate variability, and characterizing hydrological impacts of climate change on lakes and catchments by applying hydro and thermodynamic models and isotopic analysis.
Further information and details can be found in the final reports of the Work Package 4 of SILMAS project, available on the project website ( or on the Alpine Space projects website (http://
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAlpine Space Programme Bayerisches Landesamt für Umwelt
Commissioning bodyAlpine Space Programme
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2013

Fields of Expertise

  • Sonstiges

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