How will extreme climate change impact liveability and welfare in and across Europe? What are impacts of extreme high-end climate scenarios when combined with socio-economic tipping points? What are the transformative actions that need to be taken to prepare us for such extremes? These question are at the heart of the IMPRESSIONS research project.


IMPRESSIONS aims to advance the understanding of the implications of high-end climate change, which involves temperature increases above 2°C, and to help decision-makers apply such knowledge within integrated adaptation and mitigation strategies. The project will provide empirically-grounded, transformative knowledge that quantifies and explains the consequences of high-end climate scenarios for both decision-makers and society. IMPRESSIONS will develop and apply a novel participatory methodology that explicitly deals with uncertainties and strong non-linear changes focusing on high-end climate change and intermediate warming levels.

Innovative research features
In order to achieve the goals, the project includes a number of innovative features. Decision-makers will be involved throughout the project, working closely with researchers to identify the technical and political problems they face and to identify the information, tools and methods they need to overcome these barriers. This participatory approach ensures that the project outputs meet the needs of decision-makers. Moreover, the climate scenarios will be integrated with underlying socio-economic storylines. In order to makes these storylines more credible and useful they are co-created with decision-makers. The scenarios will reflect the high levels of variability and uncertainty that characterize high-end climate change futures, as well as the potential for non-linear effects and climate tipping points.


Furthermore, the project will combine existing climate change impact and adaptation models from European and international centres of excellence with new models. These models include interactions between different sectors and different regions and allow for the exploration of synergies and trade-offs between adaptation and mitigation actions. The models will be applied to five case studies at different scales: global, European and local or regional (Hungary, Iberia and Scotland), to ensure that they can tackle complex real-life situations.


Influential decision-makers associated with each case study will come together in a series of workshops to explore the risks, opportunities, costs and benefits associated with different adaptation and mitigation pathways. Finally, the project will build a long-term community of actively involved stakeholders through developing an online knowledge network and information hub, which will reach out beyond the project participants to the wider public and other policy-makers, researchers and innovators.


Identifying innovative policies and actions
The outputs of IMPRESSIONS are likely to offer a new set of reasons for people and organizations to reconsider their approach to climate change policies and actions, including a more precise justification for early, aggressive mitigation, and the reframing of the climate and development challenge. In particular, the project can identify policies that bear the potential to become a source of economic innovation rather than a financial burden – including those with multiple benefits across sectors, and those which exploit synergies between adaptation and mitigation options.


For learning more about the project, progression and publications, visit the IMPRESSIONS Website or subscribe to the STRN newsletter.


Duration of the project

IMPRESSIONS started in 2013 and will run until 2018.


Client(s)/ Commissioning party

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 603416


Partners / Team

The IMPRESSIONS consortium is coordinated by Oxford University (UK), with 23 other partners that along with DRIFT include, but are not limited to: Wageningen University (The Netherlands), Stockholm Environment Institute (Sweden), SERI (Austria), IODINE SPRL (Belgium), University of Lisbon (Portugal), Denmark’s Meteorological Institute (Denmark), SYKE (Finland), University of Edinburgh (UK), Cranfield University (UK), SSSA (Italy), Pensoft (Bulgaria), TIAMASG (Romania), Kassel University (Germany), Central European University (Hungary), ETH (Switzerland), Potsdam Institute for Climate Research (Germany), PLUS- Salzburg University (Austria), and Milan University (Milano-Bicocca) (Italy).



Niki Frantzeskaki and Katharina Hölscher