The interdisciplinary Global Change project, funded by the Ministry of Education, Science, Youth and Culture of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, is at the interface of natural and law sciences. Within this project, the departments of biography, environmental meteorology, soil science, and law of the University of Trier are participating. Due to the complexity of the scientific questions, the project is departed into two subprojects.
According to the EU protection area system "Natura 2000" which has been developed to stop the loss of species and biodiversity, all EU members are bounded to create protection areas for endangered species. The expected climate change may cause drastic changes in the composition of species and loss of biodiversity. Furthermore, the borders of the protection areas may shift in response making flexible boundaries necessary. There are three main questions derived from this context:
- What are the consequences of climate change at European, national, and local scale?
- Is the concept of flexible protection area boundaries a permissible option within EU and national law?
- In what way does increasing cultivation of renewable agricultural commodities affect the linkages and functions of existent protection areas?
Within this project, the Department of Environmental Meteorology provides regional, high-resolution climate simulations with the COSMO-CLM model for the Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Luxembourg, and Lorraine domain. The simulations are embedded into the IPCC scenario runs and permit a dynamical downscaling to a horizontal resolution of 1.3km. Another focus is set on the extreme value analyses of these model data. The regional climate simulations serve as the basis for description of the current and future regional climate and are used as forcing data for the species distribution modelling on a local scale. In addition to the extreme value analyses, the data will also be used for animal population risk assessment studies.