Climate change may increase the frequency and severity of extreme weather events and associated disturbances that threaten people, infrastructure and ecosystems. Some extreme events impact natural and managed landscapes and water systems; others may also alter the built environment, which also depends on land and water resources.
To assess the risk to infrastructure posed by extreme weather events around the planet, we continually develop and refine analytic methods with the aim of improving the consensus of model predictions. Combining our Integrated Global System Modeling (IGSM) framework’s climate model and those used by institutions that have participated in the IPCC, we also analyze extreme events under various climate policies. Our assessments target risks to any system threatened by heavy/extreme precipitation events, floods, drought or extreme heat; to wind energy systems threatened by extreme or low-wind events; solar energy systems threatened by high cloudiness events; and coastal infrastructure threatened by storm-surge events.
Assessing Infrastructure Risk and Resilience at Urban, Industrial and Ecosystem Levels
On the city level, our researchers are studying the resilience of storm-water, water-supply and transportation systems as well as public and private building infrastructure. We are also evaluating options for climate adaptation through maintenance, rehabilitation and design standards for new infrastructure.
At the industrial level, our computational and analytical capabilities enable us to assess how physical risks (e.g., storms, heatwaves, floods, droughts, wind, cloudiness) and transition risks (e.g., policy, liability, technology) impact company operations, supply chains, critical assets, access to and price of resources, and product supply and demand.
To assess the risk to ecosystems posed by extreme weather events, we study how such events and associated disturbances directly influence land biogeochemistry and biophysics to influence land productivity and feedbacks to climate; how the legacy effects on vegetation and soils imposed by past extreme events and associated disturbances influence future biogeochemistry and biophysics of land ecosystems; the risks to land ecosystems imposed by future extreme events; and how different ecosystems respond to the same extreme event and associated disturbances.