How to use the Climate Impact Atlas?

As a result of climate change, summers are becoming hotter, whereas winters are getting milder and wetter. Furthermore, the sea level is rising, and weather extremes are increasing. This means that torrential rain, heat, and drought may intensify and increase in frequency. The Climate Impact Atlas helps you to gain a basic impression of how climate change will impact your own area. The Atlas comprises a Viewer and Map Narratives. This page explains what you can do with the Climate Impact Atlas and how to use the Viewer and Map Narratives.

What can you do with the Climate Impact Atlas?

For local and regional governments, the Atlas constitutes an excellent basis for climate stress tests. Furthermore, the Atlas is of relevance for, e.g., educational establishments, college and university students, businesses, and residents. The Climate Impact Atlas is based on national data and can be used free of charge. The Climate Impact Atlas has adopted the same climate impact categorisation as the Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation, viz., a four-theme structure: flooding, waterlogging, drought, and heat. In addition to providing a basic impression of how the changing climate may affect the Netherlands, now and in the future, the Atlas also contains context maps, such as soil maps and maps indicating potential opportunities. The zoom feature enables users to zoom in on their own municipality.

How can you use the map narratives?

The map narratives provide background information to the main maps. They tell you what you see on the maps and help you to set to work with the information. The Atlas comprises five map narratives: Flooding, Drought, Waterlogging, Heat, and Basic Maps. To access the map narratives, click on the Map Narratives tab at the top of the Climate Impact Atlas website. Furthermore, the main maps in the Viewer contain links to the pertinent map narratives.

Map narratives

Image:  The map narratives available for the themes of waterlogging, drought, heat, and flooding.

How do you use the Viewer?

The Viewer contains all the maps. At the left side of the screen, you will see a box headed “Add map layers”. In this box, you can select map layers, filtering by theme. For example, if you are interested in maps on waterlogging, you may click on this theme. Under “Theme-based layers”, you will find all the maps, divided into four categories. The paragraph below explains what these theme-based layers entail and the steps you need to take to view one or more map layers.

How have the maps been categorised?

The maps in the Climate Impact Atlas are divided into four categories, here referred to as theme-based layers. Several maps may be combined to find out which areas are vulnerable and to explore where adaptation measures could be taken.

The figure below indicates the interrelation between the theme-based layers:

20210728_Overview of different theme layers_KEA translation_v1

  • The theme-based layer relating to “climate change” comprises generic maps on climate change, provided by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute KNMI. Examples: the number of tropical days and annual precipitation volumes.
  • The “physical impact” layer contains information on how climate change may impact an area, factoring in its situation. Aspects to be considered in this respect are the water system, geographic relief, and the soil. Examples of map layers: water depths during severe downpours, the urban heat island effect, and soil subsidence. These maps do not address the potential consequences for people and the environment.
  • The “impact” layer pertains to the consequences for people and the environment. These maps show the risks, and, in some cases, the opportunities involved in physical impact. Examples: the perceived temperature heat map, the risk of pole rot, and urban infiltration opportunities.
  • The maps in the “basic maps” layer may be used to provide additional context, for example, relating to the soil, greenery, and neighbourhoods.

How can you view map layers?

Have you selected one or more map layers in the left-hand box? Then click on “View map layers” in the upper right-hand corner. A box will pop up enabling you to select the scenario. You can compare the current climate with two scenarios: the “2050 Low” scenario, featuring a limited change in climate, and the “2050 High” scenario, in which the climate changes significantly. The current climate is based on data from the period 1980 to 2010. The grey fields underneath each map layer indicate the scenarios available for that particular map. The Viewer only shows the map layers for which the scenario is available. The Low and High scenarios are geared to the KNMI climate scenarios and, in some cases, to information on socio-economic scenarios. More information is provided in the FAQ section.