Skip to content



Climate change adaptation

Coastal protection


Adapting to the Future Climate

12. October 2012
climate adaptation

Solution provider

City of Copenhagen

The City of Copenhagen is a world leader in green growth and well on its way to become carbon neutral by 2025.

More from City of Copenhagen

Want to see this solution first hand?

Add the case to your visit request and let us know that you are interested in visiting Denmark

Global climate changes will set their marks on Copenhagen over the next 100 years: Dry summers with intensive rainfall, wetter winters, higher temperatures and rising water levels. To safeguard Copenhagen and prepare the city for the changing climate, the city of Copenhagen has produced a climate adaptation plan. With long-term investments and timely planning, we will have the required edge to ensure that the city is prepared for violent rainstorms and heat waves.

Initially changes come gradually but will then happen faster and faster. The most dramatic changes will occur after 2050. In preparation for the future, we are collaborating across different sectors to develop smart solutions which do not only prepare the city for the climate changes, but also make the city a better place to live with its green islands and blue canals in the middle of the city.

The blue and green areas in the city have several functions:

  • Reduce stormwater flows by absorbing and detaining rainwater.
  • Moderate and balance temperature changes.
  • Reduce the city’s energy consumption for cooling buildings by creation of shade and air circulation.
  • Increase biodiversity.
  • Reduce noise and pollution.
  • Create possibilities of recreation.

Unique Concept

The concept combines information on the topography, the sea level rise, the storm surge, the rainfall/runoff distribution and knowledge of the economic values of property etc. in the area. The idea uses flood risk defined as vulnerability times the probability of flooding in a given area. The flood risk was first assessed by screening methods followed by prioritised dynamic modelling of floods and economic consequences over the next 100 years.

Flood and risk maps
All information is gathered in a GIS in which the spatial extent and depth of the flooding can be viewed together with area maps showing economic values of properties, infrastructure etc. The flood risk maps will identify areas which are most important or most beneficial to protect, and these areas should be given highest priority for the most cost-efficient climate change adaptation. Climate adaptation measures are planned to be such as recreational areas, businesses, beaches, landscape and infrastructure.

Contingency plans
The flood and flood risk maps give a solid background for contingency plans and disaster risk management, and can be used during emergency actions to prioritize activities and forecast where flooding will occur if the event continues. A series of contingency plans and adaptation activities have been screened in this manner, and the most effective in economic terms have been identified.