Vulnerability Assessment

Existing and future infrastructure is vulnerable to a changing climate. Identifying these vulnerabilities is necessary in creating a sustainable and resilient community.

Vulnerability Assessments include three components:

  • Create an infrastructure baseline – what assets are being analyzed? This means identifying the infrastructure type (roads, bridges, buildings) and specific features (road type, building type and usage, energy analysis). This step can include annual growth functions or specific planned future projects, or focus on existing infrastructure.

  • Identifying the projected changes in climate as proposed by (all or some) of the available climate change model projections. Currently IPSS is capable of analyzing changes in precipitation, temperature, humidity and flooding for nearly 80 different climate futures through 2100 for anywhere in the world. All are approved by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Additional climate models can be added to the system on a case-by-case basis.

  • Highlight critical performance issues, damage threats and cost impacts. Based upon projected climate changes, infrastructure assets and the engineering methodology applied by IPSS, critical issues are identified. This includes annual cost estimates (such as increased maintenance costs for roads if temperature increases) and major failure points (such as HVAC upgrades necessary for indoor air quality).


Adaptation and Cost-Benefit Analysis

Adaptation analysis focuses on comparing a do-nothing ("business as usual") scenario with a proactive adaptation scenario. For adaptation, specific investment strategies and actions are identified to keep pace with stress from a changing climate. A cost-benefit analysis compares the costs on an annual basis for each strategy to inform financial planning. 

Optional and mandatory adaptation strategies are separated to identify the most critical investments (such as indoor air quality or energy demand guidelines) and ways to maximize benefit while minimizing potential regrets.

Adaptation Analysis includes two main components:

  • Specific adaptation needs & options: Identify infrastructure components that need upgrading – what roads, buildings or energy issues have been identified as vulnerable and what the mandatory or suggested actions are to be taken. Annual or decadal projections are given based on projected use and climate change models.

  • Cost-benefit analysis: Estimate the differences in cost between multiple scenarios: a business-as-usual no adaptation option is compared with a proactive adaptation option for any/all climate change scenarios analyzed. Time scales are given to compare the up-front costs with the long-term savings to help prioritize and identify key investments with low-regret financing.


Risk Management

Resilient Analytics provides a comprehensive look at all potential climate futures available through existing models to help answer the question: "What is the amount of money spent (over/under) if climate change does not manifest as expected?"

A key feature of risk management is to understand the highest impact adaptation investments that can provide benefit across the most climate change projections and reduce the life-cycle cost of infrastructure management. 'High-risk' scenarios can also be analyzed to understand the worst-case scenario and potential impact.

Risk management profiles draw on information from Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Analysis to help improve the available information about climate change in a given geographic region and specific infrastructure considerations.