Climate scenarios

Knowledge of the climate of the future is essential to keep the Netherlands accessible, liveable, and safe. In what ways can the climate change in the future? What are the most likely developments? The Climate Scenarios of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute KNMI provide insight into such issues. This insight can help us to properly adapt to the impact of climate change.

The KNMI’14 Climate Scenarios

The most recent Climate Scenarios were published in 2014: the KNMI'14 Climate Scenarios. Together, the four KNMI'14 scenarios describe the cornerstones within which climate change will probably manifest itself in the Netherlands:

  • WH: sharp rise in temperature (warm), large change in airflow values
  • WL: sharp rise in temperature (warm), small change in airflow values
  • GH: moderate rise in temperature, large change in airflow values
  • GL: moderate rise in temperature, small change in airflow values

What is the basis underpinning the Climate Scenarios?

The KNMI Climate Scenarios are based on the latest scientific insights of the IPCC, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. With the KNMI scenarios, the KNMI has translated the IPCC global climate projections into a description of the potential climate change in the Netherlands. The KNMI’14 Climate Scenarios are based on the insights contained in the IPCC report that was published in 2013.

How are the scenarios used?

How you use the Climate Scenarios depends on several factors, such as the purpose, the time horizon, and the research area of a study. Are you conducting research in the field of climate adaptation? In that case, it would be best to use all the KNMI’14 scenarios in order to calculate effects. Thus, you can determine which measures will be effective according to all the scenarios. Are you engaged in an exploratory study and are you seeking to determine whether climate change is relevant to a sector? In that case, you may opt to use only one scenario. Click here for more advice on how to use the Climate Scenarios.

What do the latest scenarios show?

The KNMI’14 Climate Scenarios generate a picture of higher temperatures, a more rapidly rising sea level, more winter precipitation, more severe downpours, and a probability of drier summers. The KNMI'14 scenarios also show the weather of the future and provide information on fog, radiation, evaporation, and hail.

When will the new Climate Scenarios be published?

In 2023, the KNMI will publish a new set of KNMI Climate Scenarios. In 2021, it will publish a first interpretation of the sixth IPCC assessment report (AR6) for the Dutch climate: the Climate Signal ‘21. Click here for more information on these publications.

Want to know more?

Would you like to know more on the development of the new KNMI’23 Climate Scenarios and the Climate Signal ’21? Or are you interested in attending meetings on the Climate Scenarios? Then you could subscribe to the digital KNMI Climate Newsletter. To subscribe, send an email to The newsletter is sent out once or twice a year.

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