ARCADIA: Adaptation and Resilience in Cities: Analysis and Decision making using Integrated Assessment

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Environmental Sciences

Abstract

Urban areas are concentrations of vulnerability to climate change. Examples of impacts of climate change in urban areas include excessive heat, water scarcity and flooding. Whilst it is impossible to attribute individual extreme events to climate change, recent events including the 2003 heat wave that struck Paris and other European cities, and hurricane Katrina in New Orleans have illustrated the potential for large scale weather-related disruption of urban function, from which it may take months or years to recover. In recognition of the significance of climate change in urban areas, from the points of view of both adaptation and mitigation, in 2005 the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research launched a new research programme on Engineering Urban Systems . Building on the previous success of the Tyndall Centre in interdisciplinary integrated assessment, the Tyndall Centre Cities Programme brought together research expertise from seven universities (four of which are represented in the ARCADIA project) and a high profile stakeholder group to develop an Urban Integrated Assessment Facility (UIAF) that simulates long term changes in urban areas and can be used as a platform for testing the effectiveness of adaptation and mitigation strategies. The ARCADIA project will launch an ambitious new phase of development of the Tyndall Centre UIAF in order to understand better the vulnerability and resilience of urban areas. The ARCADIA project is highly interdisciplinary and involves input from an influential group of stakeholders from business and local and central government, with interests in planning, infrastructure, the built environment and climate change adaptation and mitigation. This group will work with the research team to ensure that the project is orientated towards user needs. Indeed the first research task will involve close work with stakeholders to understand how the advance modelling tools being developed in the Tyndall Centre can best inform decision making. Task 2 will identify the various direct and indirect modes in which climate impacts disrupt urban function and will go on to examine potential adaptation mechanisms and barriers to adaptation. In Task 3 the Tyndall Centre will team up with the Climatic Research Unit at UEA and the Met Office Hadley Centre to develop new probabilistic scenarios for urban areas that are consistent with UKCIP08. Task 4 will model the relationship between climate impacts and the urban economy, in order to identify how the economy may be disrupted by climate change. By analysing change in the economy through time and interactions between economic sectors, we will understand better how the urban economy can be made more resilient. Task 5 will combine the economic model developed in Task 4 with a new model of the spatial planning of buildings and infrastructure in urban areas. As well as identifying concentrations of vulnerability, this will enable the simulation of potential redesign of the built environment under different scenarios of climate and other drivers such as employment and changes to the transport system.The final research task will, working with stakeholders, use the new understanding of the vulnerability of urban systems to analyse how adaptation of urban areas can enhance resilience over a range of timescales. The objective will be to make practical proposals for 'adaptation pathways' for cities over the 21st Century to respond strategically to the challenges of flooding, water scarcity and extremes of heat.

Publications


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McCarthy M (2012) Simulating climate change in UK cities using a regional climate model, HadRM3 in International Journal of Climatology

 
Description The ARCADIA urban weather generator (UWG) is a new tool for exploring the impacts on local weather of changes in both climate and in urban cover and heat release. The starting point for development of the UWG was the first version of the single-site Weather Generator (WG) developed at the Universities of Newcastle and East Anglia (UEA) for the national climate projections UKCP09. A number of major gaps in the UKCP09 WG were identified and have been addressed in ARCADIA. As a result of UEA work, the reproduction of extreme temperatures (both daily maximum and hourly extremes) and the persistence of heat waves has been improved (previously these were all under-estimated). UEA has also contributed to development of a spatial capability. Applications to major cities and regions require spatial fields of weather variables capturing persistent spatial patterns such as Urban Heat Islands (UHIs) as well as other forms of correlation affecting collective risk such as spatial dependence of extreme rainfall or extreme temperature.

The ARCADIA UWG provides daily time series of temperature, rainfall and other weather variables for 5 km grid squares across London and southeast England. It is based on and consistent with UKCP09 but additional provides both spatially-consistent information and a representation of the UHI. The consistency with UKCP09 is due to use of the same 'climate change factors' which are applied to the statistical parameters of the weather generator, i.e., to 'perturb' the weather generator for future climate change. Thus the user can specify the desired emission scenario (High, Medium or Low) and time period (2020s, 2030s..2090s).

The unique and new component of the ARCADIA weather generator is the capability to incorporate a representation of the UHI and changes in urban cover and/or heat release. These 'urban change factors' are derived from regional climate model (RCM) simulations undertaken by the Met Office Hadley Centre (MOHC) for ARCADIA. UEA has worked with the MOHC on the design and validation/evaluation of these simulations and on the methodology for incorporating the derived urban change factors into the UWG.

The resulting UWG allows users to explore the impacts of different future climate and urban development scenarios, including the potential impacts of adaptation and mitigation strategies (i.e., reduced urban coverage and/or heat release) as well as increasing urbanisation. The UWG is run through a User Interface developed by the University of Newcastle, with UEA and the MOHC contributing computer code and data as well as input on the overall design and specification. UEA also took the lead on writing guidance documentation for the UWG.

The UWG is one of a set of inter-linked decision-making tools developed by ARCADIA for London. In particular, it provides input for the ARCADIA heat risk assessment tool. The focus of this tool is the application of temperature thresholds to explore impacts such as thermal discomfort, mortality, labour productivity, and railway/tube disruption. UEA has assisted in the identification of appropriate thresholds, also considering the ability of the UWG to simulate such events.
Exploitation Route The ARCADIA Urban Weather Generator is one of a set of inter-linked decision-making tools developed by ARCADIA for London. In particular, it provides input for the ARCADIA heat risk assessment tool. The development of both tools has benefitted from input and guidance from the project stakeholders including the Greater London Authority and Transport for London. The User Interface developed for the ARCADIA Urban Weather Generator allows users to explore the impacts of different climate and urban development scenarios on local weather including temperature and other extremes. Whilst initially developed for London and the south-east, it has since been extended to cities and regions across the UK and has the potential to be extended beyond the UK. The generic nature of the approach is stressed in a journal paper which it is anticipated will be submitted in autumn 2013.
Sectors Environment
URL http://www.arcc-cn.org.uk/project-summaries/arcadia/
 
Description CARIWIG: CARIbbean Weather Impacts Group - supporting risk based decision making
Amount £640,000 (GBP)
Organisation Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 06/2012 
End 11/2014
 
Description CARIWIG: CARIbbean Weather Impacts Group - supporting risk based decision making
Amount £640,000 (GBP)
Organisation Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 01/2012 
End 03/2015