Topic A: Open CLimate IMpacts modelling framework (OpenCLIM)

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Tyndall Centre

Abstract

Climate change is one of the major threats of the 21st Century both nationally and globally. This requires a joint response of mitigation and adaptation as enshrined in the UK Climate Change Act, which mandates a Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) every five years and a quinquennial National Adaptation Plan (NAP) to adapt to the climate risks that are identified. Assessing climate risks and adaptation in a consistent manner is scientifically challenging as climate change is manifest in multiple ways (rising temperature and sea level, changing precipitation, etc.) and impacts every human and natural system. Further there are direct and indirect impacts as these effects cascade and interact with other sectors which are often changing due to non-climate processes. Any proposed adaptations need to be assessed in a similar manner including direct and indirect effects and unintended consequences. Earlier UK climate assessments did not fully address this challenge relying in part on expert synthesis for integration, potentially leading to an over focus on direct consequences and leading to inconsistencies between sectors and between adaptation options.

The OpenCLIM project is designed to support UK assessment of climate risks and adaptation needs, and future CCRAs and NAPs in particular, by developing and applying a first UK integrated assessment for climate impacts and adaptation. First and foremost we aim to develop an open, innovative and flexible platform to provide an improved capacity for the next CCRA and NAP. Our model will consider UK-wide climate impacts and adaptation in biodiversity, agriculture, infrastructure and urban areas, considering the impacts of flooding, heat stress and changing temperature and precipitation. It will also consider two detailed case studies: (1) an urban analysis of Glasgow and environs (the Clyde); and (2) a more rural analysis of the Norfolk Broads and environs. These will serve as a demonstration and validation exercise to inform the national analysis. Secondly, we will also design an open-access platform with a strong legacy which is flexible to allow further development of the integrated model beyond this funding. We aspire to develop a community model where new and improved models could be easily incorporated and innovative science and new policy questions investigated. Hence future CCRAs and NAPs could be linked to a living science process, drawing on evolving understanding and stakeholder needs. This would include improving knowledge in established sectors and areas, and developing better sectoral linkages and interactions, as well as adding new models of less established sectors and areas as they emerge, including the ability to reframe and pose new questions. Recognising the significant challenge of achieving this second goal, our model will be developed within the UKCIRC DAFNI (Data & Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure) facility for High Performance Computing.

The platform will be designed to take the UKCP18 and new UK socioeconomic scenarios to ensure the best scientific inputs. The approach will be explicitly spatial and allow highlighting of geographical hotspot areas and the prioritisation of risks in a systematic and consistent manner including tabulation and mapping of outputs. The models that are included are all physically-based (rather than emulators or rules-of-thumb) and this will enable the generation of new research insights, including climatic risks in the UK. Importantly, the use of physically-based models will allow credible simulation of conditions that have not been previously observed and improve confidence in the results compared to earlier analyses.

Planned Impact

Climate change is a top threat to the well-being and sustainability of the UK. Strategic assessment and management of these climate risks is therefore crucial. Consequently, this research aims to aims to develop an open, innovative, flexible and continuously evolving platform for integrated assessment modelling of climate change risks and adaptation at the UK scale. This will provide an improved capacity for the next Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) and National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and an open model platform for further development of the integrated model in multiple ways.

Our four impact priorities are to:
1. pilot the new platform in preparation for the 4th UK CCRA and the associated NAP and beyond;
2. develop an internationally leading platform for Climate Change Risk Assessment;
3. nurture a thriving ecosystem of academics, practitioners and other developers to innovate in climate change risk assessment; and,
4. demonstrate the benefit of climate change adaptation to society.

The main beneficiaries and benefits of the research will therefore be:
* The Adaptation Committee of the Committee on Climate Change as they oversee the national Climate Change Risk Assessment every 5 years, and assess the government's progress in delivering the National Adaptation Plan (NAPs) every 2 years.
* UK and Devolved Administration (DA) government departments (e.g., DEFRA) who lead on adaptation and are responsible for producing the NAPs will benefit from an improved evidence base for adaptation planning.
* Departmental and/or agency owner of risks (e.g. Environment Agency, Public Health England, etc.) who have responsibilities for managing particular risks - will benefit from improved methodologies and understanding of those risks.
* Regional stakeholders, initially those in Glasgow City Region and Norfolk who will benefit from our validation case study work, but ultimately other regional bodies and local authorities will benefit from improved climate change risk assessment at sub-national scales.
* Developers of tools for climate change risk assessment and adaptation, especially academics who usually don't have easy 'route to market', will benefit from an open and flexible platform through which they can make their cutting-edge models available for widespread use. The initial focus will be on national assessment models, but OpenCLIM will be designed to be flexible and allow DA or local scale models to be incorporated.
* Multi-disciplinary consultants, who will benefit from access to state of the art climate change modelling to inform their consultancy services in the UK, and ultimately internationally. Although OpenCLIM is an open source framework the process of setting up simulations and interpreting results could be commercial and provide benefit to UK plc.
* Communities and wider public, who will benefit in terms of their safety, health and wellbeing that results from improved understanding of climate change risks and therefore more effective adaptation. Working with partners we will seek to transfer methods to the UK and internationally.

The flexible nature of OpenCLIM, and the creation of an ecosystem of developers as part of our pathways to impact means that endusers in industry, government and communities, can rely upon steadily improving assessment and adaptation as the platform evolves to incorporate the latest knowledge.

Impact and engagement with partners will be managed by Asher Minns who has 20 year's experience of stakeholder collaboration. A series of stakeholder workshops at regional, devolved administration and national scales will form the backbone of a continuous engagement process which will take place during the project. The project is structured and managed so that the platform, framework and integrated assessments are all co-designed with stakeholders. This exchange is complemented by input from our inclusion of key stakeholders as members of our Advisory Board.

Publications

10 25 50

publication icon
Kennedy-Asser A (2022) Projected risks associated with heat stress in the UK Climate Projections (UKCP18) in Environmental Research Letters

publication icon
Kennedy-Asser A (2022) Projected risks associated with heat stress in the UK Climate Projections (UKCP18) in Environmental Research Letters

 
Title Adaptation Inventory 
Description Colleagues within OpenCLIM have produced an adaptation inventory, which holds data on models used within OpenCLIM. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The impacts are yet to be seen. One potential use is the National stock take of adaptation for the UNFCCC, due in 2023. 
 
Title UK Heat Stress Vulnerability app 
Description https://akaresearch.shinyapps.io/heatstressvulnerability/ 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The app has been circulated to a small number of stakeholders to get feedback on usability. So far in 2022, the app has been used for over 17 hours, with feedback generally positive suggesting that apps such as it are helpful, however the content is currently too academic/abstract for some decision makers to use. 
URL https://akaresearch.shinyapps.io/heatstressvulnerability/
 
Description Norwich Climate Change Commission risk assessment maps 
Organisation Norwich City Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution OpenCLIM is providing impact maps for Norwich.
Collaborator Contribution N/A
Impact This will inform Norwich adaptation thinking.
Start Year 2022
 
Description Adaptation Inventory talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Supporters
Results and Impact Held a presentation on the Adaptation Inventory at the Climate Exp0, 17 - 21 May 2021 (online).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description COP26 - Panel on infrastructure adaptation to climate change 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop at COP26 involving 20 climate change leads from various infrastructure organisations attended a workshop which sparked questions, discussion and follow up activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description COP26 - Workshop on Sustainable Cities 
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 Event at COP26, chaired by the Danish Ambassador, with politicians, industry and academics from around the world. Follow up discussions around adaptation of the built environment to manage climate change risks.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Case Study for Wales 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact As part of the collaboration with the Welsh Senedd and Cabinet in January 2021, we were invited to submit a video to showcase our research during Wales Climate Week (November 2020).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Case Study for Wales 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact OpenCLIM linked research produced a case study for Wales that was included in briefing documents presented both to the Welsh Senedd and Cabinet in January 2021, as part of their review of emissions targets.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
 
Description Centre for Life 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact In the run up to COP26, the Centre for Life produced a series of videos showcasing research that is happening in the North East linked to Climate Change. The videos were published across the Centre fo Life's website and social media. EL featured in a video highlighting what work is being done in the North East to measure, monitor, mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Featured scientist in NHM COP26 workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact The Natural History Museum co-ordinated a series of workshops aligned with COP26 themes to support young people (15-25) in voicing their opinions about the climate crisis by providing them with science and public speaking training. EL contributed to the second workshop focussing on climate models and how they can be used to understand climate impacts and possible solutions. EL gave a presentation of her modelling work and answered participant questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Heat stakeholder meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Bilateral and group OpenCLIM heat stakeholder meetings held with Welsh Government, PHE, PHW, CCC, Climate NI, National Trust, Adaptation Scotland.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Interview with the FT 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview about coastal climate change risks
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.ft.com/content/5de27c61-0095-4add-8076-7469b27a4bb8
 
Description Newcastle research showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Elizabeth Lewis presented in the engineering research showcase for students. In the most recent NSS, students highlighted that they wanted to engage more with active research areas. The event was held on Thisisengineering Day and was in-keeping with COP26 on the theme of climate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Presentation to the Infrastructure Operators Adaptation Forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A presentation about climate risks to infrastructure, and new climate change risk assessment techniques from the OpenCLIM project. The event involved climate change leads from a wide range of infrastructure operators.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Talk at DAFNI launch event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Prof. Nicholls gave a talk at the DAFNI launch event on 5th July 2021 "Modelling services at your fingertips."
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Talk at meeting of the UK Climate Resilience Steering Committee 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Prof. Nicholls gave a talk at the UK Climate Resilience Committee Steering meeting on 11th March 2021.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Talk at the Environmental Intelligence Conference 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Prof. Nicholls gave a talk at the Environmental Intelligence Conference 2021 in Exeter. (16th to 17th December 2021)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Talk given to the CCRA Project Board on the OpenCLIM Project on 13 January 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Robert Nicholls presented the OpenCLIM project to the Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) Board who were mainly considering CCRA3. OpenCLIM is the method proposed for CCRA4 in 5 years time. There was a good discussion with the stakeholders and engagement of them with the OpenCLIM process.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Talk to British Council 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Wrapping-up SPERARE online conference - Russia on the road to COP26.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021