Newton Fund (Invitation Only): DISASTER RESILIENT CITIES: FORECASTING LOCAL LEVEL CLIMATE EXTREMES AND PHYSICAL HAZARDS FOR KUALA LUMPUR

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Civil Environmental and Geomatic Eng

Abstract

Recent natural disasters in Malaysia, such as the wide-spread floods in 2014/15 and the flash flooding of Kuala Lumpur in 2007, have revealed that improvements are required in the prediction of damaging natural hazards and in the capacity to manage the associated risks and consequences.

Appropriate to the theme of 'future cities', the focus of this project is the prediction and management of physical risks relevant to Kuala Lumpur, which is the Malaysian capital and the most populated city in Malaysia with around 8 million inhabitants. The particular hazards to be targeted in this project, that are common in Kuala Lumpur, are floods, landslides, sink holes, strong winds, urban heat and air pollution.

A consortium of 16 research and business partners from the UK and Malaysia has been assembled for this project. The basic strategy is to adapt and combine existing technologies to enhance hazard forecasting ability, and the main objective is to develop a prototype multi-hazard information platform suitable for communicating risks. The primary beneficiaries will be risk managers and decision-makers in Malaysian local government and the insurance sector. The project objectives relate to the Malaysian Science to Action initiative, which has an aim of mobilising science for societal well-being.

University College London is one of the main UK academic partners and contributes to WP2 on both the simulation urban flood risk and urban heat islands in Kuala Lumpur.
With relation to urban flood risk, UCL's role is to contribute to the determination of rainfall scenarios in the hazard assessment, and to propose and test approaches for loss estimation from the rainfall and urban flooding scenarios. This work will be carried out in close collaboration with JBA and Met Malaysia.

In the context of the urban heat island simulations, UCL will modify an existing software platform to account for the specifics of tropical climates and better characterise the effects of varying building materials on the heat absorption and heat storage of the built environment. The new version of the software will be used to assess the susceptibility to heat-related hazards of several pilot areas in Kuala Lumpur, selected to have different land use features and urban characteristics. This work will be carried out in collaboration with CERC and Met Malaysia, and will involve field investigations.

Benefits of the project will include improved information regarding the risks of occurrence of natural hazards that will enable Malaysian local authorities to make better contingency plans to mitigate the effects of such hazards. This will in turn provide economic benefits and improve the quality of life for Malaysian citizens. Improved information about geophysical and atmospheric hazards will also aid the development of insurance services.

Planned Impact

The project will have a wide range of economic, societal and academic impacts.

The main outcome will be a prototype for an operational source of information about multiple physical hazards that may threaten Kuala Lumpur (flash-flood, flood, landslide, sinkholes, heat, air pollution). The immediate beneficiaries will be the contingency planners and decision makers for that major city who will be able to manage better the risks and impacts associated with those hazards. To ensure that such benefits can be realised, these stake-holders will be engaged with the project, through representation on the steering committee and through regular dialogues with the project participants. Through improved planning the economic and societal damage of these physical hazards will be reduced. The methodologies developed in the project (both scientific and in construction of a knowledge dissemination network) will be applicable to other cities in Malaysia and beyond, so these benefits will broaden geographically beyond the lifetime of the project. Expansion of the applications will stimulate commercial exploitation to the benefit of the companies that provide the underlying models, which will in turn underpin investment in further model development to improve accuracy and efficiency.

Improved detailed information about the nature and distribution of the risks associated with the physical hazards will impact the insurance industry by aiding national insurance programmes that are expected to develop in Malaysia over the next several years.

Improved planning will bring social benefits, through improvements in the response of emergency services and through actions to mitigate the severity of damaging physical events.

The deliverables from the project will benefit the research community in several sectors. Results from the multi-scale meteorological modelling component will provide examples and case studies relevant to atmospheric and climate science. Methodologies employed in and data from the mapping and assessment of geophysical hazards will be useful for research in the earth sciences and environmental sciences. Information will be disseminated through publications and through presentations at national and international workshops and conferences.

The UCL contribution to the project will develop better loss assessment tools for both urban flooding and heat induced urban hazards. These tools can be directly applied by the Malaysian partners to implement preparedness and mitigation measures so as to improve the resilience of studied areas in Kuala Lumpur. Moreover, the developed methodologies will allow a wider application to other parts of Malaysia or South East Asia. These tools will also provide insurance companies with better ways to assess these risks, promoting the development of new financial products for Malaysia.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Flooding Vulnerability and Risk Model for Kuala Lampur
Exploitation Route The Kuala Lumpur Local government is considering uploading the model on the project platform
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

 
Description Collaboration with BGS 
Organisation British Geological Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution UCL is working on floods costing analyses of the geophysical hazards component of the project, which is under direct lead of BGS.
Collaborator Contribution BGS is responsible for setting up regular meetings with the geophysical hazards team and liaising with Malaysian partners for timely and complete provision of data.
Impact UCL and BGS are jointly contributing towards the multihazard management platform which is the major project outcome. The main contribution of UCL and BGS lie at flooding and landslides, respectively. Interdisciplinary effort including geology, risk modelling and civil engineering, as well as social sciences to find the right way of communicating hazards to a wide range of stakeholders.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration with CERC 
Organisation Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution CERC and UCL CEGE has been working in the previous Newton Funds supported (via British Council) Future Cities project (award no 172578553) and in the current Disaster Resilient Cities project. UCL has contributed with new research questions by its researchers working with CERC's modelling tools, which then were used to further improve the tools themselves and modelling strategy.
Collaborator Contribution CERC has provided substantial support with in-kind researcher training, modelling tool licences at a reduced rate and assistance with model setup.
Impact UCL-CERC collaboration has resulted in a strong atmospheric hazards workpackage in the Disaster Resilient Cities call, which helped make our application be successful. In addition, CERC and UCL are a part of the consortium for a recently submitted H2020 project. The two organisations have strong research questions to focus on in the future. UCL-CERC collaboration has so far yielded one academic publication (Aktas et al., 2017) and a number of invited talks delivered by Yasemin D Aktas at TUDelft (2016), UKM KL Malaysia (2016), UCL South East Asia Network (2016), University of Hong Kong (2016), Disaster Resilient Cities: Risk Assessment and Forecasting Workshop in KL Malaysia (2017) and Urban Meteorology and Climate Conference in Hong Kong (2017). This is a strongly interdisciplinary collaboration including structural engineering (UCL), material sciences (UCL) and atmospheric physics (CERC).
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration with JBA 
Organisation JBA Consulting
PI Contribution UCL CEGE is using the project outcome of JBA (flood model) directly to do the costing analysis. UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory is responsible for deriving the precipitation scenarios for JBA to run their models with.
Collaborator Contribution JBA is carrying out the flood modelling in order for UCL to use for the costing analysis.
Impact Currently JBA is working on the flood model with the input that the UCL Mullard Space Science Lab has produced.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration with UKM 
Organisation National University of Malaysia
Country Malaysia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution UKM and UCL started to collaborate in 2016 for the Institutional Linkages project. The current Disaster Resilient Cities project is a direct outcome of that project. Both projects, from which the total funds exceed £350k, were achieved under the leadership of UKM.
Collaborator Contribution UCL was the coordinating organisation for the Institutional Linkages project, i.e. was responsible for organising project meetings and workshops, providing overall project coordination and technical exchange visits between UK and Malaysian partners, and coordinating the proposal development process. The Disaster Resilient Cities project, developed during the Institutional Linkages, gave UCL a central technical role both in atmospheric and geophysical components.
Impact An active research project (EP/P015506/1), which will soon yield a high number of academic publications and reports as well as a public multihazard management platform. Interdisciplinary effort among engineers, geologists, atmospheric scientists and meteorologists.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration with University of Cambridge 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Cambridge and UCL started to collaborate in 2016 for the Institutional Linkages project. UCL was the coordinating organisation for the Institutional Linkages project, i.e. was responsible for organising project meetings and workshops, providing overall project coordination and technical exchange visits between UK and Malaysian partners, and coordinating the proposal development process. UCL has played a central role in the development of the current Disaster Resilient Cities project, which is a direct outcome of the Institutional Linkages.
Collaborator Contribution The Disaster Resilient Cities project, is under the coordination of University of Cambridge and developed during the Institutional Linkages, gave UCL a central technical role both in atmospheric and geophysical components.
Impact An active research project (EP/P015506/1), which will soon yield a high number of academic publications and reports as well as a public multihazard management platform. Interdisciplinary effort among engineers, geologists, atmospheric scientists and meteorologists.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Invited talk by UCL South East Asia Network, 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Climate-Induced Geophysical and Atmospheric Hazards in Malaysia, invited by Pro Vice Provost SE Asia, UCL South East Asia Network, 15 June 2016 London
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Invited talk in Hong Kong, 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Urban Climate Modelling: An Alternative Parametrization, Invited by University of Hong Kong, Built Environment Group, 20 September 2016 Hong Kong
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Invited talk in Hong Kong, 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Urban Environment - Science, Modelling and Policy, Invited by Johnny Chan - City University of Hong Kong, Guy Carpenter Asia-Pacific Climate Impact Centre - for the Urban Meteorology and Climate Conference, 25-26 May 2017 Hong Kong
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Invited talk in KL Malaysia, 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Urban Micro Climate and Sustainable Building Design, Invited by Prof Joy Pereira for the Disaster Resilient Cities: Risk Assessment and Forecasting Workshop, 10 Mar 2017 Kuala Lumpur
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Invited talk in Phillipines, 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Modelling of Urban Temperature Perturbations: An Alternative Parametrization, invited by organisers of the 5th ANCST Workshop on Climate Change and Disaster Resilience - Post Sendai 2015, 16-17 October 2015, Manila, Philippines
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Invited talk in UKM in KL, Malaysia, 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Fast Physical Modelling of Urban Heating, invited by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Climate Research Institute (Institut Perubahan Iklim), 23 March 2016 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Meteorological Thematic Group Meeting - Predictability of Extreme Weather Events 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The event was held in 14-15 November in Kuala Lumpur with participation from governmental bodies, and representatives from industry and academia.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Talk at 10th International Conference on Urban Climate/14th Symposium on the Urban Environment, 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Talk at10th International Conference on Urban Climate/14th Symposium on the Urban Environment, titled "Impact of Building Morphology and Material on Urban Climate: A Case Study in Kuala Lumpur"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.ametsoc.org/ams/index.cfm/meetings-events/ams-meetings/10th-international-conference-on-...
 
Description Urban Meteorology and Climate Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The Urban Meteorology and Climate Conference was held in Hong Kong in 25-26 May 2017 and hosted by the City University of Hong Kong. The project consortium was represented by one keynote talk titled "Urban Environment - Science, Modelling and Policy" co-authored by Prof Julian Hunt, Dr David Carruthers, Dr Jenny Stocker and Dr Yasemin Didem Aktas. Dr Yasemin D Aktas also gave a talk titled "Local Urban Climate Modelling in Mid-Latitudes" summarising past and future work undertaken as part of the project "Disaster Resilient Cities: Forecasting local climate extremes and physical hazards for Kuala Lumpur".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Workshop on Disaster Resilient Cities 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Workshop on Disaster Resilient Cities: Risk, Assessment and Forecasting for Geophysical and Atmospheric Hazards was held in 8-11 March 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, and brought together dozens of representatives from Malaysian governmental departments (e.g. DBKL, MetMalaysia) and politicians, as well as industry and academy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Workshop on Research and Practice of Urban Modelling and Field Monitoring in UK and Malaysia, March 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact This workshop was a gathering between the Malaysian team leading atmospheric hazards research in our project and research groups at UCL. Various researches on air pollution or indoor/urban overheating from a building and urban design, or health perspectives, were presented in this workshop to address the findings on urban climate related risks and resilient strategies, and strengthen the collaboration between UK and Malaysian Partners. Prof Talib and representatives from DoE, Malaysia, attended.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description invited talk at TUDelft, 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Fast Physical Modelling of Urban Flows and Temperatures, invited by the Process & Energy Delft Research Group for TUDelft Seminars, 29 January 2016, Delft, Netherlands
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016