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Preparations for climate change's influences on cultural heritage

Annika Haugen (Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU), Oslo, Norway)
Johan Mattsson (Mycoteam, Oslo, Norway)

International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management

ISSN: 1756-8692

Article publication date: 8 November 2011



In Norway the most critical effects of climate change are predicted to be increased rain and snow, higher temperatures, increased wind loads, and sea‐level rise. This will increase the number of floods and landslides, along with more cycles around the freezing point and increased exposure to high moisture. The main issue for protecting Norway's historical monuments from climate change is how to be aware of and how to handle the coming problems. One challenge is to define and give this information to heritage owners and local authorities. The purpose of this paper is to describe some of the practical threats related to climate change, and provide suggestions for mitigation and adaption strategies.


Theoretical information of the problem is useful at a general level, but the practical impact has to be used at a local level. Improved knowledge about the risks for deterioration at different exposure levels, thorough surveys, and practical solutions, can significantly reduce the negative effects. This knowledge must reach the people that have local and daily contact with the cultural heritage. Information to the owners and responsible authorities about the normal risk of deterioration and how to identify risks related to climate change is crucial.


The main results of the authors' work is a methodology dealing with the problem step‐by‐step production of a web‐site based on fact sheets for heritage owners and managers. The fact sheets are divided amongst different subjects and are designed to be informative and easy to use for owners and responsible authorities.


The results presented in this paper will increase the knowledge of how owners of cultural heritage can be prepared for climate change on a practical, hands‐on level. This can, for example, be done by a brief overall analysis of the threats of the cultural heritage in a specific municipality. The analysis can be summarised in a list of increased possible risks, with direct practical information given to those needing it, and placed online. This would enable detection of and reaction to warning signs of an unusual situation. Information, training and production of both general and specific plans for action in case of extreme situations are also important in order to prevent the negative effects of climate change.



Haugen, A. and Mattsson, J. (2011), "Preparations for climate change's influences on cultural heritage", International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 386-401.



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