Climate Risk Indicators: developing indicators of climate risk using UKCP18 to support risk assessments and enhance resilience

In order to improve resilience to climate change, it is necessary to understand and estimate climate risks. This project is producing projections of a wide range of policy-relevant indicators covering heat extremes, agriculture, wildfire and hydrological systems. It is a collaboration between the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, who are simulating river flows using the state-of-the-art Grid-to-Grid hydrological model. The project concentrates on indicators characterising climate hazards and resources, and uses the new UKCP18 climate projections to estimate current and future risks. We are producing estimates of changes in risk through the 21st century under low and high emissions, and are also estimating changes in hazard risk for specific increases in global average temperature. Results will be presented at a range of different spatial scales across the UK. We are also producing a small number of scenarios describing coherent and consistent changes in hazard and resource across a range of indicators across the UK. A key part of the project has been the identification of indicators that are relevant to users. The indicators can subsequently be combined with measures of exposure and vulnerability to estimate future risk.

This project provides first estimates of a series of indicators of climate risk, using UKCP18, relevant to climate risk assessments at national, devolved, and local levels, and over different time horizons. It will provide information valuable to the next Climate Change Risk Assessment, and help organisations understand their current and future risks. The project will also provide information about the relationship between future increases in temperature and future risk. The project uses the new UKCP18 climate projections, and concentrates in the first instance on risks of weather extremes, floods and droughts, and risks to agricultural productivity.

Image (top) shows Saddleworth Moor ablaze, taken by on 27 June 2018 by NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite

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Watch Climate Resilience webinar, 20 May 2020: Indicators of changing climate risk in the UK with Professor Nigel Arnell and Brendan Freeman. Part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.