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Climate

Belgium has a moderate climate with with relatively mild winters and summers, and precipitation that is relatively evenly spread across the year. However, the Belgian coast has its own microclimate with cool summers, warm winters, more sunshine, less precipitation and more wind than inland.

The coastal area has an average yearly temperature of 10°C (Debrie 2017, Klimaatatlas). July and August are the warmest months, with an average maximum temperature above 20°C, while January and February are considered the most cold. Overall, the Belgian coast has more hours of sunshine (1.700 hours) than the inner parts of Belgium (1.550 hours measured in Ukkel) (Dehenauw 2002).

With 670 mm per year, the coast has less precipitation than the Belgian average of 925 mm per year. Yet, in autumn, precipitation can become higher than Lower- and Middle-Belgium due to the relatively high temperature of the sea water (MIRA). The wind regime also defers from the other parts of Belgium, being overall more strongly present near the coastline.

As all climates, the Belgian coastal microclimate will also start seeing significant changes in the long term (2100), due to climate change. In the most extreme scenario, the average yearly temperature in 2100 will have increased to 16°C, which is almost 6°C higher than the current average (Climate Portal). Additionally, the rainfall pattern will change as well. By the year 2100, there would be no rainfal in the coastal region of Belgium for approximately 237 days, which is in large contrast with the 173 dry days there are today. This effect will be reinforced by the increase in number of heat waves throughout the year (Climate Portal). The wind regime will see little significant changes, with only a slight increase in wind strenght during the summer months. 

In conclusion, climate change will also be sensible in the future Belgian coastal climate, in part due to an increase in extreme weather conditions. The Royal Meteorologic Institute (KMI) has made an attempt to estimate the impact of the climate change on the Belgian climate, using the ALARO model in the CORDEX.be project. Results of this project will be used for adaptation and mitigation strategies. More detailed information, graphs and spatial products on the Belgian climate can be found on the Climate Portal of the Flanders Environment Agency (VMM). This platform visualizes information on several effects of global warming, such as heat, drought, sea level rise and flooding.

More information in the publication CoastalINsight2019 and on the Climate portal.

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Climate