Baseline Assessment for Greater Manchester
Research and Data for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience
AIM OF THE REPORT
The key goal of this assessment of research and data, and of the RESIN project more generally, is strengthening capacity to adapt and build resilience to climate change. Knowledge of climate change related research and data increases adaptive capacity in several ways, including by raising awareness of related issues and providing information to assess climate risk. This can in turn help to generate political commitment, and potentially support the allocation of resources. Allied to this, research and data can help to inform and target adaptation and resilience decisions and actions to generate more effective outcomes in practice. This is one of three complementary baseline reports produced within the RESIN project, with the others considering the stakeholder and policy landscape influencing urban climate change adaptation and resilience in Greater Manchester (GM) (Connelly et al 2017, Ellis et al 2017).
This assessment has been undertaken for several reasons, not least because an overview of existing research and data relevant to adaptation and resilience in GM is currently unavailable. The aims are:
- To identify resources to inform the GM RESIN case study, particularly the design and implementation of a method to assess weather and climate risks to GMs critical infrastructure.
- To identify gaps in current research and data that the RESIN project (or other future studies) could help to address.
In addition to supporting the RESIN project, this assessment aims to inform ongoing and future activities in GM that are linked, directly or indirectly, to climate change adaptation and resilience.
This assessment has established that no systematic analysis has been undertaken to date of climate risks to the multiple critical infrastructure themes and sectors that serve GM. Given the importance of critical infrastructure to GM, and the potential for negative impacts associated with the changing climate, the RESIN project is filling a gap in the knowledge base. Although GM stakeholders do have access to a range of sources that can support the assessment of weather and climate risks to critical infrastructure, there are several key issues and gaps concerning available research and data that present challenges. They include:
- Although future weather and climate projections do exist, the capacity may not be available within organisations such as local authorities to process and analyse this data in order to better understand related risks.
- GM benefits from a range of locally focused research and data outputs. Some fine scaled hazard data is available, such as flood maps and urban heat island mapping. These are the exceptions, however, and the majority of local data remains at a relatively course scale for reasons including the challenges associated with downscaling hazard and projections data.
- Research and data tends to address defined critical infrastructures and spatial scales in isolation and does not consider the implications of climate change risks to infrastructure from a broader systems perspective. However, due to the methodological and data complexities associated with cascading effects between infrastructures, such assessments currently are rare.
- The research and data that is available to support the assessment of climate risk in GM represents what could be described as a ‘first generation’ resource. It is relatively simple, there is little insight into interdependencies and cascading effects, data is often at a course spatial scale and hazards such as wind storms are not covered. Further, it may not always be in a format that can be readily applied by ‘end users.’
- A ‘second generation’ research and data resource to support extreme weather and climate change research and practice in GM would be less purely research-driven and more closely aligned to the needs of climate change policy makers and practitioners.