Climate Change Risk Threshold Database

The Risk Threshold Database (RTD) compiles climate parameter levels whose exceedence would increase the likelihood of damages and losses (D&Ls) associated with a given asset, investment, or locality. These can be applied to climate change screening of public assets, investments, and sub-national governments using the Geospatial Planning and Budgeting Platform (GPBP).

Global Demonstrations and Publications
Title Publication Year Authors Abstract Link
Debris flow, rainfall and climate change in Scotland 2010 M.G. Winter, J. Dent, F. Macgregor, P. Dempsey, A. Motion, and L. Shackman In August 2004 a series of landslides in the form of debris flows occurred in Scotland. Critically, the A83, A9 and A85 routes, which form important parts of the major road network, were all affected by these events. Although debris flows occur with some frequency in Scotland, they affect the major road network only relatively rarely. However, when they do affect roads the degree of damage, in terms of the infrastructure and the loss of utility to road users, can have a major detrimental effect on both economic and social aspects of the use of the asset. Following these events work was put in place to assess and rank the hazards and to develop a management and mitigation strategy. The management strategy is largely based upon the reduction of the exposure of road users to risks from debris flow. It operates upon the principle of Detection, Notification and Action (DNA). A crucial element of this work is the continuing development of a rainfall threshold to indicate conditions likely to produce debris-flow activity, and the development of a tentative threshold is described herein. Clearly, any change in rainfall patterns as a result of recent climate trends and future climate change has the potential to affect the frequency and intensity of debris flow and thus the effectiveness of the associated management strategy for such events, and the potential effects of such phenomena are considered in this paper. Read More
Guidelines for Climate Proofing Investment in the Transport Sector Road Infrastructure Projects 2011 Asian Development Bank This publication, Guidelines for Climate Proofing Investment in the Transport Sector: Road Infrastructure Projects (henceforth Guidelines), aims to present a step-by-step methodological approach to assist project teams to incorporate climate change adaptation measures into transport sector investment projects. While the focus of the Guidelines is on the project level, an improved understanding of climate change impacts should also be used in the design of infrastructure planning and development policies and strategies to ensure appropriate resource allocation. Though the transport sector includes roads, waterways, rails, and airborne transport, this Guidelines focuses solely on road infrastructure Read More
Water security and society: Risks, metrics, and pathways 2014 Dustin Garrick and Jim W. Hall Water security is a major challenge for science and society. We review the rapidly growing literature on water security from the perspective of risk science and management. Competing definitions and indicators of water security reflect unsettled conceptual and methodological issues. However, risk concepts have become prevalent in defining water security; measuring it quantitatively; tracking indicators of hazards, exposure, and vulnerability; and informing management options to reduce water-related risks. We examine water security indicators and indices to identify thresholds for water-related risks across multiple dimensions of water security and examine how these vary across different scales and socioeconomic contexts. Water security indicators reveal a disparity in hazards and vulnerability across geographic and political-economic conditions. Recognition of water security as a major societal challenge has been closely followed by a strong commitment to academic, government, development, and policy responses. Pathways to water security capture the sequence of investments in institutions and infrastructure to reduce water-related risks and manage trade-offs. Two well-studied water management case studies illustrate the pathways to water security and the need for more systematic comparative assessment. Read More
Vulnerability of the US western electric grid to hydro-climatological conditions: How bad can it get? 2016 N. Voisin, M. Kintner-Meyer, R. Skaggs, T. Nguyen, D. Wu, J. Dirks , Y. Xie, M. Hejazi Large-scale assessments of the vulnerability of electric infrastructure are usually performed for a baseline water year or a specific period of drought. This approach does not provide insights into the full distribution of stress on the grid across the diversity of historic climate events. In this paper we estimate the Western US grid stress distribution as a function of inter-annual variability in regional water availability. We softly couple an integrated water model (climate, hydrology, routing, water resources management, and socioeconomic water demand models) into an electricity production cost model and simulate electricity generation and delivery of power for combinations of 30 years of historical water availability data. Results indicate a clear correlation between grid vulnerability (unmet electricity services) for the month of August, and annual water availability. There is a 21% chance of insufficient generation (system threshold) and a 3% chance that at least 6% of the electricity demand cannot be met in August. Better knowledge of the probability distribution of the risk exposure of the electricity system due to water constraints could improve power system planning. Deeper understanding of the impacts of regional variability in water availability on the reliability of the grid could help develop tradeoff strategies. Read More
Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Framework for Caribbean Coastal Transport Infrastructure 2018 UNCTAD Transport infrastructure in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is vulnerable to climate change impacts. As detailed further below, climate-related hazards (e.g., sea level rise, storm surge, increased temperatures) can damage individual transport facilities such as ports and airports, which can in turn disrupt transport services and cripple small island economies. Strategies to reduce these risks can come from both top-down approaches—such as national policies and plans to increase overall resilience—and bottom-up approaches—such as facilityspecific engineering enhancements or operational changes to prevent damage. This report provides information to help SIDS increase the resilience of their transport infrastructure, with a focus on ports and airports. The report was developed for UNCTAD under the United Nations Development Account project “Climate change impacts on coastal transport infrastructure in the Caribbean: Enhancing the adaptive capacity of Small Island Developing States.”1 This project included two parallel efforts: (1) two national case studies focused on coastal transport infrastructure vulnerability in Jamaica and Saint Lucia, and (2) the development of a transferable methodology for such vulnerability assessments in Caribbean SIDS. Read More
Linking green infrastructure to urban heat and human health risk mitigation in Oslo, Norway 2019 Zander S. Venter, Norun Hjertager Krog, David N. Barton The predicted extreme temperatures of global warming are magnified in cities due to the urban heat island effect. Even if the target for average temperature increase in the Paris Climate Agreement is met, temperatures during the hottest month in a northern city like Oslo are predicted to rise by over 5 °C by 2050. We hypothesised that heat-related diagnoses for heat-sensitive citizens (75+) in Oslo are correlated to monthly air temperatures, and that green infrastructure such as tree canopy cover reduces extreme land surface temperatures and thus reduces health risk from heat exposure. Monthly air temperatures were significantly correlated to the number of skin-related diagnoses at the city level, but were unrelated to diagnoses under circulatory, nervous system, or general categories. Satellite-derived spatially-explicit measures revealed that on one of the hottest days during the summer of 2018, landscape units composed of paved, midrise or lowrise buildings gave off the most heat (39 °C), whereas units composed of complete tree canopy cover, or mixed (i.e. tree and grass) vegetation maintained temperatures of between 29 and 32 °C. Land surface temperatures were negatively correlated to tree canopy cover (R2 = 0.45) and vegetation greenness (R2 = 0.41). In a scenario in which each city tree was replaced by the most common non-tree cover in its neighbourhood, the area of Oslo exceeding a 30 °C health risk threshold during the summer would increase from 23 to 29%. Combining modelling results with population at risk at census tract level, we estimated that each tree in the city currently mitigates additional heat exposure of one heat-sensitive person by one day. Our results indicate that maintaining and restoring tree cover provides an ecosystem service of urban heat reduction. Our findings have particular relevance for health benefit estimation in urban ecosystem accounting and municipal policy decisions regarding ecosystem-based climate adaptation. Read More
Climate and Disaster Risk Screening - Sector Screening Guidance Note Transportation Sector 2019 World Bank Group This Sector Screening Guidance Note provides an end-to-end roadmap of the climate and disaster risk screening process. Read More
Connecting flash flood events with radar-derived convective storm characteristics on the northwestern Mediterranean coast: knowing the present for better future scenarios adaptation 2020 Anna del Moral, María del Carmen Llasat, Tomeu Rigo The northwestern Mediterranean coast is one of the areas most affected by flash floods and adverse weather, where also global climate scenarios are predicting an increase in precipitation extremes. This, along with the sea-level rise and the associated potential infrastructure and economical losses, represents a major risk for coastal settlements, as the one studied in this work: a major touristic area on the southern coast of Catalonia. The objective of the present paper is, thus, to understand in-depth the behavior of convective activity in the area and its link with flash flood events, to improve adverse and severe weather early warning systems in a rapidly changing weather as an adaptation measure. With this purpose, the study focuses on the period 2014–2018, analyzing the convective cells and storm motion in the region of study, through the new identification and tracking algorithm developed by the authors and applied in the Meteorological Service of Catalonia. The results show that the area is mostly affected by shallow but efficient convection, probably embedded in major weather systems with high precipitation rain rates, which tends to saturate the catchments and produce flooding. The work also shows the role of the topography as a triggering factor for storms outside the convective season, as a key feature for the convergence lines organization, and as a capping for stationary cells upstream. Improvements in the current warning system, such as different precipitation thresholds considering the time of exposure to that rain, as well as a further study are also presented as main results. These results can be extrapolated and applied to other regions affected by the same kind of heavy precipitation and flash floods. Read More
Quantifying uncertainty in aggregated climate change risk assessments 2021 Luke J. Harrington, Carl-Friedrich Schleussner & Friederike E. L. Otto High-level assessments of climate change impacts aggregate multiple perils into a common framework. This requires incorporating multiple dimensions of uncertainty. Here we propose a methodology to transparently assess these uncertainties within the ‘Reasons for Concern’ framework, using extreme heat as a case study. We quantitatively discriminate multiple dimensions of uncertainty, including future vulnerability and exposure to changing climate hazards. High risks from extreme heat materialise after 1.5–2 °C and very high risks between 2–3.5 °C of warming. Risks emerge earlier if global assessments were based on national risk thresholds, underscoring the need for stringent mitigation to limit future extreme heat risks. Read More
Assessment of climate-related risks. A 6-step methodology 2021 Dr. Michael Siebert, et.all The 6-step climate risk assessment (CRA) methodology developed by the Global Programme on Risk Assessment and Management for Adaptation to Climate Change (Loss & Damage) (GP L&D) provides practitioners and decision-makers with a guidance on how to assess climate risks and how to translate the assessment into measures. CRA aims to identify risk, assess the magnitude of impacts on people, assets and ecosystems, and ascertain the possible options for action. Main characteristics of the methodology include the participation of all stakeholders, the assessment of hazards along the entire spectrum from slow onset processes to extreme weather events, the consideration of non-economic losses and damages as well as the focus on risk tolerance levels. It aims at identifying a smart mix of climate risk management measures, combining proven instruments from climate change adaptation and disaster risk management with innovative measures to address residual risks which cannot be averted. As such, CRA can support evidence-based and risk-informed decision making and planning in the context of climate change. Read More
ASSESSING INFRASTRUCTURE PORTFOLIOS’ EXPOSURE TO CLIMATE CHANGE 2021 Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures Private Sector Product - Metrics designed to build strong climate leadership and to comply with market best practices. They cover the full scope of strategy, from climate impact to business resilience. Read More
Flood Risk Analysis on the Rail Network at Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina 2022 Suada Sulejmanović, Sanjin Albinović, Žanesa Ljevo, Mirza Pozder & Ammar Šarić The paper discusses the impact of climate change (floods) on the FBiH railway network. The methodology for analysing the impact of 200-year and 500-year floods on the railway network has been developed. The parts of the railway infra-structure exposed to the risk of floods have been identified based on geospatial data and QGIS software tools. The risk of railway damage was determined for each section at risk, using defined flood-risk thresholds. Finally, the risk map was developed as a result of the analysis. The paper also describes possible damage and appropriate rail protection measures: preventive protection measures, flood protection measures, and rehabilitation measures. Read More
Climate Risk Assessment, Adaptation and Resilience - Key steps in Aviation Organisation Climate Change Risk Assessment and Adaptation Planning 2022 ICAO A guidance note on performing a climate change risk assessment and on developing and implementing a climate change adaptation plan is intended for use by airports, aircraft operators and air navigation service providers (ANSP) across the global aviation network. It can also be used at the National level by States that are engaging in climate change risk assessment of their aviation sector either as an aviation-specific assessment or as part of a wider national or transportation sector assessment. Read More
GHANA: ROADMAP FOR RESILIENT INFRASTRUCTURE IN A CHANGING CLIMATE 2022 Adshead, D., Thacker, S., Fuldauer, L.I., Gall, S.S., Chow, N., Pant, R., Russell, T., Bajpai, A., Morgan, G., Bhikhoo, N., Boroto, D., Palmer, R., Cançado, D., Jain, N., Klöttschen, V., Lawal, H., Dery, P., Twum, E., Mohammed, G., Hall, J.W., and Agbesi, L. 2022 Adaptation action is essential to achieving and safeguarding development outcomes in the face of more frequent and intense climate hazards. This report is the culmination of a 21-month partnership between the Government of Ghana (MESTI), the Global Center for Adaptation (GCA), the University of Oxford, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to identify and propose solutions to address priority adaptation needs in Ghana. Using novel modelling and assessment tools, and through an extensive stakeholder consultation process, it provides an assessment of risk of climate hazard on national infrastructure systems. Next, it develops a roadmap for addressing risks through targeted adaptation options in the built and natural environments, including nature-based solutions. The roadmap also defines institutional interventions required to enhance the enabling environment that ensures the optimum effectiveness of adaptation measures in the country. It is aligned with Ghana’s national development objectives to advance progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement on climate change, and gender and inclusivity objectives. The proposed 35 prioritised adaptation options provide opportunities for funders and investors to invest in Ghana’s future, offering impactful, evidence-based adaptation projects and enabling environment interventions backed by robust research and analysis. Read More
Popular extreme sea level metrics can better communicate impacts 2022 D. J. Rasmussen, Scott Kulp, Robert E. Kopp, Michael Oppenheimer & Benjamin H. Strauss Estimates of changes in the frequency or height of contemporary extreme sea levels (ESLs) under various climate change scenarios are often used by climate and sea level scientists to help communicate the physical basis for societal concern regarding sea level rise. Changes in ESLs (i.e., the hazard) are often represented using various metrics and indicators that, when anchored to salient impacts on human systems and the natural environment, provide useful information to policy makers, stakeholders, and the general public. While changes in hazards are often anchored to impacts at local scales, aggregate global summary metrics generally lack the context of local exposure and vulnerability that facilitates translating hazards into impacts. Contextualizing changes in hazards is also needed when communicating the timing of when projected ESL frequencies cross critical thresholds, such as the year in which ESLs higher than the design height benchmark of protective infrastructure (e.g., the 100-year water level) are expected to occur within the lifetime of that infrastructure. We present specific examples demonstrating the need for such contextualization using a simple flood exposure model, local sea level rise projections, and population exposure estimates for 414 global cities. We suggest regional and global climate assessment reports integrate global, regional, and local perspectives on coastal risk to address hazard, vulnerability and exposure simultaneously Read More
Geospatial Planning and Budgeting Platform