From climate hazard to climate risk

This Met Office work package will focus on looking at existing hazard results from a risk perspective and will devise and apply approaches to convert weather and climate hazards to risks. The first component will aim to better understand climate datasets, including UKCP18, from a risk perspective. Work is underway to characterise and understand extreme events and their repeat frequencies as well as compound events and the large-scale synoptic conditions driving them in the UKCP18 global and 12km datasets. This will include consideration of the spatial extent and possibility of repeat events.

This work package will also consider a range of different frameworks for estimating climate risks. This includes scoping of potential suitable frameworks and trial implementation of the risk frameworks. Examples will range from simple index approaches (which combine vulnerability and exposure with risk) through to more complex work to combine climate modelling approaches with catastrophe modelling. To support this task the work package will produce a new set of UK socio-economic scenarios.

A third component of this work package covers research to improve communication of risk relevant information, including its uncertainty. The activities being undertaken in this work package are as follows:

a. Multiple Hazards (Met Office led)

This work aims to characterise risks from multiple climate hazards and how they may change in terms of location, severity, frequency and duration of the through the 21st century. The work includes:

  • Developing the science and methodologies around multiple and compound hazards affecting the UK
  • Engaging with stakeholders to understand their vulnerability and exposure.
  • Developing UKCP18-based risk projections of multiple hazards using the conditions identified by stakeholders.

As part of this a tool to assess joint probability distribution functions of the occurrence of arbitrary variables from UKCP model projections has already been developed. This can diagnose changes in the frequency, duration and severity of events and their spatial distribution. Through engagement with stakeholders (Environment Agency (EA), Public Health England, Flood Forecasting Centre, Natural Hazards Partnership, Defra, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), case studies on the changing risk to multiple hazard events are being developed).

b. Estimation of probability of UK temperature and precipitation extremes using different UKCP18 methods and inter-comparison of results with UNSEEN and event attribution (Met Office led)

This research is looking at a range of present day and future extremes, using the different tools available from UKCP18 i.e. probabilistic projections, global model results over the UK, 12km regional climate model (RCM) results and the 2.2km results. This compliments work to further compare the UNSEEN and event attribution approaches and is closely linked to the work on event attribution described previously. This activity will then link the changes in extremes to large-scale drivers through the use of weather regime analysis. The work will then combine hazard information with socio-economic projections to interpret changes in terms of different indicators of risk.

INITIAL FINDINGS from this project can be read here: Future changes to high impact weather in the UK

c. Initial implementation of risk assessment frameworks with UKCP18

This project has translated raw climate projections into more impact relevant metrics, such as the change in frost days or extreme rainfall over the UK, and provides them for different levels of future global warming from 1.5°C above pre-industrial times up to 4°C of global warming. The climate metrics used include those from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) which are routinely used to assess the observed changes in the UK climate but here we are assessing them in the context of future climate change. Other metrics are based on parts of the National Severe Weather Warning Service (NSWWS) which is provided by the Met Office.

d. Effort to support links to external projects and organisations (Met Office led)

This effort supports other projects in this and the other Met Office work packages as well as input to the first wave of UKRI projects. Discussions are continuing with external stakeholders interested in climate risk e.g. joining the steering committee of some UKRI projects, developing links with statutory bodies, government departments and research institutes in order to build aspects of their requirements into the developing projects in this work package. It has also helped identify ways to ensure the methodologies and approaches developed in this work package are used to develop climate services as part of the UK Climate Resilience programme.

e. Development and provision of UK socioeconomic scenarios (Jan 2020-April 2021. Led by Cambridge Econometrics, with UK CEH, University of Exeter and University of Edinburgh)

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f. Risk estimates using techniques from catastrophe modelling: UK Flood (Jan 2020-Jul 2021. Led by Sayers and Partners, with UK CEH and Vivid Economics)

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g. Using IMPROVER for climate projections (Met Office led)

IMPROVER is the new probabilistic post-processing system being developed in the Met Office for weather forecast timescales. It will provide a much more comprehensive and appropriate use of all our state-of-the-art numerical weather  forecast models, including the high spatial resolution convection-permitting ensemble (called MOGREPS-UK), with the goal of producing better weather forecasts. The aim of this work is to examine how IMPROVER might help in the interpretation of longer timescale UK climate predictions.

h. Communication of uncertainty (Completed. Led by University of Leeds)

A review of empirical studies from the cognitive and psychological sciences exploring non-experts’ responses to uncertain climate information. The study explores the communication formats that have been used to communicate different types of uncertainty, including the role of inter-individual differences such as experiences with climate change or underlying worldviews. A set of cognitive design principles for communicating uncertainties around climate information has been derived to help display uncertain climate information to inform climate policy decisions and communication with stakeholders.

INITIAL FINDINGS from this project can be read here Communicating uncertainty & visualisations and in the following publication Visualizations of Projected Rainfall Change in the United Kingdom: An Interview Study About User Perceptions, by Astrid Kause,  Wandi Bruine de Bruin, Fai Fung, Andrea Taylor and Jason Lowe. Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2955;



i. Comparison of risk assessment frameworks (July 2019 to April 2020. Led by RAND-Europe, with Cranfield University)

The goal of this study is to provide information about how to best assess climate change risks to support climate resilience efforts. This project has identified a range of climate risk assessment frameworks linked to decision-making approaches being used in the UK. Following a crowdsourcing exercise to identify the risk assessment frameworks currently being used, work to date includes a literature review and interviews to identify the relative merits of different risk assessment. At a workshop in November 2019 participants discussed the range of risk assessment frameworks currently in use and identified examples of tiered approaches to risk assessment and their relationship to broad ISO standards.

The remainder of the project will focus on a set of widely used UK specific risk assessment frameworks (drawing on the research already conducted) and compare them against a new draft ISO standard 14091 (“Adaptation to climate change — Guidelines on vulnerability, impacts and risk assessment”) and the broader ISO standard 31010 (“Risk management – risk assessment techniques”). The outputs will feed directly into research to develop a new framework for UK climate services.

 Image: Pixabay