Higher temperatures can damage rail and road surfaces (AEAT, 2003; Wooller 2003; Mayor of London, 2005) and affect passenger comfort. There is likely to be an increased use of air conditioning in private vehicles and where public transport is perceived to be uncomfortable, modal switch may result (London Climate Change Partnership, 2002). The likely increase in extreme weather events may cause flooding, particularly of underground rail systems and roads with inadequate drainage (London Climate Change Partnership, 2002; Defra, 2004a; Mayor of London, 2005). High winds may affect the safety of air, sea and land transport whereas intense rainfall can also impact adversely on road safety although in some areas this may be offset to a degree by fewer snowy days (Keay and Simmonds, 2006). Reduced incidences of frost and snow will also reduce maintenance and treatment costs. Droughts and the associated reduced runoff may affect river navigation on major thoroughfares such as the Rhine (Middelkoop and Kwadijk, 2001) and shrinkage and subsidence may damage infrastructure (Highways Agency, 2005a). Reduced sea ice and thawing ground in the Arctic will increase marine access and navigable periods for the Northern Sea Route; however, thawing of ground permafrost will disrupt access through shorter ice road seasons and cause damage to existing infrastructure (ACIA, 2004).
12.4.9 Tourism and recreation
Tourism is closely linked to climate, in terms of the climate of the source and destination countries of tourists and climate seasonality, i.e., the seasonal contrast that drives demand for summer vacations in Europe (Viner, 2006). Conditions for tourism as described by the Tourism Comfort Index (Amelung and Viner, 2006) are expected to improve in northern and western Europe (Hanson et al., 2006). Hamilton et al. (2005) indicated that an arbitrary climate change scenario of 1°C would lead to a gradual shift of tourist destinations further north and up mountains affecting the preferences of sun and beach lovers from western and northern Europe. Mountainous parts of France, Italy and Spain could become more popular because of their relative coolness (Ceron and Dubois, 2000). Higher summer temperatures may lead to a gradual decrease in summer tourism in the Mediterranean but an increase in spring and perhaps autumn (Amelung and Viner, 2006). Maddison (2001) has shown that Greece and Spain will experience a lengthening and a flattening of their tourism season by 2030. Occupancy rates associated with a longer tourism season in the Mediterranean will spread demand evenly and thus alleviate the pressure on summer water supply and energy demand (Amelung and Viner, 2006).
The ski industry in central Europe is likely to be disrupted by significant reductions in natural snow cover especially at the beginning and end of the ski season (Elsasser and Burki, 2002). Hantel et al. (2000) found at the most sensitive elevation in the Austrian Alps (600 m in winter and 1400 m in spring) and with no snowmaking adaptation considered, a 1°C rise leads to four fewer weeks of skiing days in winter and six fewer weeks in spring. Beniston et al. (2003) calculated that a 2°C warming with no precipitation change would reduce the seasonal snow cover at a Swiss Alpine site by 50 days/yr, and with a 50% increase in precipitation by 30 days.