The latest results from climate research have been used to produce detailed analyses of Sweden’s future climate. The results build on the climate scenarios that have been used by the UN’s climate panel in its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Two scenarios have been used in this analysis: RCP4.5, which significantly limits future emissions, and RCP8.5, which is a more conservative “business as usual” scenario.
Calculations of the future climate and water availability are based on new material and some new conditions compared to analyses previously presented by SMHI. The calculated changes in precipitation, temperature, water availability and flooding are broadly the same as earlier reports. The use of the RCP8.5 scenario, with its high future concentration of greenhouse gases, strengthens the effects compared to previous analyses.
Since the results of the UNs climate panel (AR5) were presented as late as 2013, the material produced by SMHI has involved intensive development. The results have required new methodologies and will continue to be evaluated by SMHI.
Analyses have been made for a number of parameters that are relevant to the supply of drinking water. The table below summarises the results.
|Airtemperature||Increasing in the whole country, in particular in northern Sweden, mainly during winter.|
|Average precipitation||Increasing in the whole country, in particular inland Norrland, mainly during winter and spring.|
|Extreme short-term precipitation||Increasing in the whole country, mainly for short-term heavy showers.|
|Water availability||Increasing in the whole country except for eastern Götaland. The increase is greatest during the winter. Decreasing during summer, in particular in eastern Götaland.|
|100-year floods and 200-year floods||Increasing in large areas of the country. Decreasing in inland Norrland and the northern coast as well as north west Svealand.|
|Low river flows||Becoming more common in Götaland and Svealand, particularly in eastern Götaland.|
|Sea levels||Raised sea levels, with the greatest net rise in southern Sweden.|
Climate calculations show an increase in the mean annual temperature during the current century, but with a large spread of the result. The largest increase is calculated for the north, which is in agreement with earlier results from both SMHI and IPCC. The difference between the two emission scenarios is small for the period 2021-2050 but increases towards the end of the century. The RCP4.5 scenario implies an increase of around 3 degrees on average by 2100, compared to the period 1961-1990. The increase is greater for RCP8.5, giving an average of around 6 degrees by 2100.
Average precipitation is calculated to increase for the whole country in the future. The greatest increase is expected for inland Norrland. The difference between the two emission scenarios is small for the period 2021-2050 but increases by the end of the century. An increase is expected during all seasons, but mostly for winter and spring.
Extreme short-term precipitation is calculated to become more intensive in a future climate. This applies particularly to short torrential showers.
Water availability and flow
In the future, an increase in water availability is expected in large parts of the country, particularly in northern Sweden and along the West Coast. Southern Sweden can instead expect a reduction which is due to increased evaporation. For large parts of the country the spring floods are expected to be lower and the winter floods will increase. The change in water availability differs between the seasons. During summer a decreasing in water availability is expected in large parts of the country, in particular in eastern Götaland.
Extreme floods are expected to occur less often in inland Norrland, the northern coastal areas and for north western Svealand. In the rest of the country, extreme floods are expected to be more common. New calculations show that a larger part of Sweden’s area could be susceptible to stronger extreme floods compared to earlier calculations.
In the future, more days with low river flows are expected in Götaland and large parts of Svealand. The greatest change is expected in eastern Götaland. This is a result of increased evaporation due to the rise in temperature.
The global sea level is expected to rise in the future. A calculated upper limit for the increase has been put at about 1 m by the year 2100 according to the latest evaluation from IPCC. The land rise counteracts the rise in sea level, in particular for northern Sweden.