Table 1.

Potential climate change impacts on engineered slopes in Europe

Climate change featuresPotential impactsPotential failure modesProcesses and parameters to be considered
Northern EuropeTemperature rise much larger than global averageSnow, lake and river ice cover (−)Damage risk from winter storms (+)Drainage system
Heavy precipitation (+) in winter and summerRiver flows (+)Rainfall-induced slope instability (++)Shrink–swell of clay soil
Evapotranspiration (++)Surface and internal erosion (++)Surface and internal erosion
Infiltration capacity (−−)Differential settlement (++)Change of soil suction
Average soil water content (++)Crack development (++)Vegetation
Water table level (++)Freeze–thaw cycles (only for northern Europe)
Erosion (+)
Modification of vegetation (++)
NW EuropeAnnual mean temperature (+)River flow (+)Risk of river and coastal flooding (+)
Winter precipitation (+)Evapotranspiration (+)Rainfall-induced slope instability (+)
Infiltration capacity (−)Surface and internal erosion (+)
Average soil water content (+)Differential settlement (+)
Water table level (+)Crack development (+)
Erosion (+)
Modification of vegetation (+)
Central and eastern EuropeWarm temperature extremes (+)Water temperature (+)Rainfall-induced slope instability (+)
Summer precipitation (−)Evapotranspiration (++)Crack development (+)
Infiltration capacity (+)
Average soil water content (−)
Change in water table (−)
Erosion (−)
Mediterranean EuropeTemperature rise larger than European averageAnnual river flow (−)Crack development (+)
Annual precipitation (−)Evapotranspiration (++)
Infiltration capacity (+)
Average soil water content (−)
Water table level (−)

++, Strong increase; +, moderate increase; −, moderate decrease; −−, strong decrease.