The likelihood of holding outdoor skating marathons in the Netherlands as a policy-relevant indicator of climate change

Abstract

“When I was born – in 1956 – the chance of realizing a Frisian Eleven City Ice Skating Marathon in Netherlands was 1 in 4. When my daughter was born – in 1999 – this chance had diminished to 1 in 10. An enormous change in one generation!” This quote was taken from a speech by J. P. Balkenende, prime minister of the Netherlands. It illustrates how a seemingly odd indicator of climate change, the chance of organizing large-scale outdoor ice-skating marathons, can play a role in the public and political debate on climate change. Outdoor skating has a very strong public appeal in the Netherlands, and the diminishing chances of holding such events provide an additional Dutch motive for introducing climate-policy measures. Here, “ice skating marathons” are approached from three angles: (1) the societal/political angle as described above, (2) the more technical angle, of how to derive annual chances for holding large-scale marathons such as the Eleven City Marathon (‘Elfstedentocht’), and (3) the role of (communicating) uncertainties. Since the statistical approach was developed in response to communicational needs, both statistical and communicative aspects are reported on in this article.

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Visser, H., Petersen, A.C. The likelihood of holding outdoor skating marathons in the Netherlands as a policy-relevant indicator of climate change. Climatic Change 93, 39–54 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-008-9498-6

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Keywords

  • Generalize Extreme Value
  • Structural Time Series
  • Structural Time Series Model
  • Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
  • Average Return Period