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A systems framework for national assessment of climate risks to infrastructure

A systems framework for national assessment of climate risks to infrastructure
A systems framework for national assessment of climate risks to infrastructure
Extreme weather causes substantial adverse socio-economic impacts by damaging and
disrupting the infrastructure services that underpin modern society. Globally, $2.5tn a year is spent on infrastructure which is typically designed to last decades, over which period
projected changes in the climate will modify infrastructure performance. A systems approach
has been developed to assess risks across all infrastructure sectors to guide national policy
making and adaptation investment. Themethod analyses diverse evidence of climate risks and
adaptation actions, to assess the urgency and extent of adaptation required. Application to the
UK shows that despite recent adaptation efforts, risks to infrastructure outweigh opportunities.
Flooding is the greatest risk to all infrastructure sectors: even if the Paris Agreement to limit
global warming to 2°C is achieved, the number of users reliant on electricity infrastructure
at risk of flooding would double, while a 4°C rise could triple UK flood damage. Other
risks are significant, for example 5% and 20% of river catchments would be unable to meet water demand with 2°C and 4°C global warming respectively. Increased interdependence between infrastructure systems, especially from energy and information and communicationtechnology (ICT), are amplifying risks, but adaptation action is limited by lack of clear responsibilities. A programme to build national capability is urgently required to improve infrastructure risk assessment.
This article is part of the theme issue ‘Advances in risk assessment for climate change adaptation policy’.
1364-503X
Dawson, Richard J.
d816e051-3698-43f4-9980-6ee8ed07343b
Thompson, David
2c60eb1e-bdb8-4501-a2bf-e01780cc31be
Johns, Daniel
33b645e4-eca4-43e4-beb0-569d69bad503
Wood, Ruth
b7420584-a843-4e61-bea7-365a04e34627
Darch, Geoff
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Chapman, Lee
9773429e-3a88-4359-b1f7-8ac9c3190c4f
Hughes, Paul N.
4c0ec1e8-68cc-4d9d-a204-5bcee70ac4d2
Watson, Geoff V.R.
a7b86a0a-9a2c-44d2-99ed-a6c02b2a356d
Paulson, Kevin
0f00904b-b3de-4f04-b18e-4f7812407b43
Bell, Sarah
d0783d9b-237c-44bf-a41f-7c61fac9a031
Gosling, Simon N.
2abe4a3a-1060-48d1-9a57-104e301dc588
Powrie, William
600c3f02-00f8-4486-ae4b-b4fc8ec77c3c
Hall, Jim W.
d4f5ac85-4282-447a-ba4d-ae6715f64a94
Dawson, Richard J.
d816e051-3698-43f4-9980-6ee8ed07343b
Thompson, David
2c60eb1e-bdb8-4501-a2bf-e01780cc31be
Johns, Daniel
33b645e4-eca4-43e4-beb0-569d69bad503
Wood, Ruth
b7420584-a843-4e61-bea7-365a04e34627
Darch, Geoff
99d30469-482e-4a97-9bed-f780d677f896
Chapman, Lee
9773429e-3a88-4359-b1f7-8ac9c3190c4f
Hughes, Paul N.
4c0ec1e8-68cc-4d9d-a204-5bcee70ac4d2
Watson, Geoff V.R.
a7b86a0a-9a2c-44d2-99ed-a6c02b2a356d
Paulson, Kevin
0f00904b-b3de-4f04-b18e-4f7812407b43
Bell, Sarah
d0783d9b-237c-44bf-a41f-7c61fac9a031
Gosling, Simon N.
2abe4a3a-1060-48d1-9a57-104e301dc588
Powrie, William
600c3f02-00f8-4486-ae4b-b4fc8ec77c3c
Hall, Jim W.
d4f5ac85-4282-447a-ba4d-ae6715f64a94

Dawson, Richard J., Thompson, David, Johns, Daniel, Wood, Ruth, Darch, Geoff, Chapman, Lee, Hughes, Paul N., Watson, Geoff V.R., Paulson, Kevin, Bell, Sarah, Gosling, Simon N., Powrie, William and Hall, Jim W. (2018) A systems framework for national assessment of climate risks to infrastructure. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 376 (2121). (doi:10.1098/rsta.2017.0298).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Extreme weather causes substantial adverse socio-economic impacts by damaging and
disrupting the infrastructure services that underpin modern society. Globally, $2.5tn a year is spent on infrastructure which is typically designed to last decades, over which period
projected changes in the climate will modify infrastructure performance. A systems approach
has been developed to assess risks across all infrastructure sectors to guide national policy
making and adaptation investment. Themethod analyses diverse evidence of climate risks and
adaptation actions, to assess the urgency and extent of adaptation required. Application to the
UK shows that despite recent adaptation efforts, risks to infrastructure outweigh opportunities.
Flooding is the greatest risk to all infrastructure sectors: even if the Paris Agreement to limit
global warming to 2°C is achieved, the number of users reliant on electricity infrastructure
at risk of flooding would double, while a 4°C rise could triple UK flood damage. Other
risks are significant, for example 5% and 20% of river catchments would be unable to meet water demand with 2°C and 4°C global warming respectively. Increased interdependence between infrastructure systems, especially from energy and information and communicationtechnology (ICT), are amplifying risks, but adaptation action is limited by lack of clear responsibilities. A programme to build national capability is urgently required to improve infrastructure risk assessment.
This article is part of the theme issue ‘Advances in risk assessment for climate change adaptation policy’.

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Accepted/In Press date: 17 January 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 30 April 2018
Published date: 13 June 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 420133
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/420133
ISSN: 1364-503X
PURE UUID: fa426155-1cec-4146-be01-46cd193baf48
ORCID for Geoff V.R. Watson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3074-5196
ORCID for William Powrie: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2271-0826

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Date deposited: 27 Apr 2018 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 05:04

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Contributors

Author: Richard J. Dawson
Author: David Thompson
Author: Daniel Johns
Author: Ruth Wood
Author: Geoff Darch
Author: Lee Chapman
Author: Paul N. Hughes
Author: Kevin Paulson
Author: Sarah Bell
Author: Simon N. Gosling
Author: William Powrie ORCID iD
Author: Jim W. Hall

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