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Climate Change Adaptation Consultants

Climate change adaption is written in too so many areas of our day to day lives, that is it impossible to mention them all we deal mainly with the built environment and how to adapt building, planning and design processes so as to better with stand the negative impacts of climate change.

Climate change is sometimes called "Global Warming" this is a bit misleading as it would suggest that it only involves the warming of the planet, but in fact it should be called something like "global weather severity increase", this is a terrible name so it is no surprise it is not used, but climate change will result in weather and short term climatic phenomena becoming more pronounced.

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Climate Change Adaptation for Rainfall

Image result for wikimedia rainy street londonWhen we say rainfall we mean precipitation of any kind in the UK. The increase in rainfall severity is perhaps one of the most important factors in designing against climate change and making a successful adaption strategy.

At present a 40% allowance is applied to account for the effects of climate change, any thing that moves, stores or can be affected by rainwater must account for this climate change allowance.

This has an impact on flood risk and surface water drainage, but also rain water harvesting.

The adaptation procedure works by using past records to very carefully work out the required storage, pipe sizes, flow capacities etc. we then add on 40% to account for climate change.

In reality this is a fudge factor that simplifies the process, a bespoke climatic model would be the most accurate, but this is rarely cost effective unless the project is of a very large scale.

Image: Anjana Menon anjimenon [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Temperature Fluctuations Owing to Climate Change

It surprising that even when considering somewhere temperate like the UK, that we might see a temperature range of 101.9 °C in the future.

The  highest  air  temperature  recorded  at  any  of  the  selected  stations  during  the  period  1961  to  2010  was  38.5°C,  at  Faversham  in  Kent  on  10 th August  2003.    This is also  the  record highest temperature ever recorded in the UK. A 1:10,000 year return value maximum temperature for August is 50.6°C. Climate change adaption studies suggest addition of 8.1°C to maximum temperatures.

The  lowest  temperature  recorded  at  any  of  the  selected  stations  during  the  1961-2010  period was -27.2°C on 10th January 1982 at Braemar, which is located on the A93 road in  Aberdeenshire,  Scotland.  It also  equals  the  lowest temperature  recorded  in  the  UK.  A 1:10,000 year return value minimum temperature for January is -51.3 °C.

Based on above observations a temperature range of 101.9 °C, should be considered.

River Flow Variations Owing to Climate Change

River flow is closely linked to rain fall, and as such a 40% allowance in channel flow is applied to all flow to account for climate change. Even in very small catchments with  a steep sided valley this can translate as a 4 or 5 meter encroachment past recent model flood zone boundaries.

Case Study: We have provided advice to managers of NHS critical infrastructure, that are sited adjacent to a small river. The advice included a schedule of improvements to project the facility against predicted flood events over the next 25 years. Our recommendation past 25 years was that the site should be moved to within a carefully selected new site in flood zone 1.  

Wind Speed Increases Owing to Climate Change

Local data and national standards are typically used to derive site wind speed data. It is recommended that a 10% allowance be added to account for climate change allowances as per Government Guidance.

By example local stations such as: Met office Station Bingley SAMOS indicates annual average wind speed is 8.9 knots (4.6m/s). Monthly averages are highest in January with monthly average of 11 knots (5.7 m/s).

Wind speed is an extremely important factor to consider especially when exacerbated by funneling. There have been incident in Leeds relating to wind funneling from tall buildings, in one instance a Lorry was blown over killing a pedestrian. This thought to have required a gust in excess of 60mph (26 m/s).

The strongest ever winds in the UK have been recorded on mountains, the strongest ever gust was 150.3 knots (77 m/s) recorded at Cairngorm Summit on 20 March 1986.

Climate Change Adaptation for Business

If a business plans to invest in a site whether new of existing it is wise to check that these new assets will be "proofed" against climate change. Stronger Winds, Greater Risk of Flooding, and Higher Temperatures all need to be designed against to ensure the sustainability of you operation.

Climate Change Adaptation for Insurance Services

In the same way that businesses should consider increased risks to property, the insurance services no doubt will need to revise their risk assessments of particular areas. By example:

When examining flood risk we typically turn to the flood risk maps at .gov and check whether a property is with Zones 2 or 3. 

However, recently we have seen the Environment Agency applying a 40% climate change buffer to these flood zones, which means that properties that are currently mapped as being in zone 1, are in fact within zone 2 or 3.

In this way an insurer could provide insurance for a “low risk” property which is not low risk at all.