Climate data to support infrastructure, transport and associated standards

Posted October 1st, 2019

The IEA has won funding to develop a new service to ensure that new and existing infrastructure, including buildings, roads and railways, is resilient to climate change. This service will be enabled by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) on behalf of the European Union.

The project is led by Tecnalia (Spain) and will be delivered by a consortium of seven partners from Spain, the Netherlands, Italy and the UK. It will provide standards bodies, architects and engineers with the climate data they need to ensure that existing and future infrastructure is resilient to the effects of climate change.

One-stop shop for climate information for infrastructure

The project will build on the C3S Climate Data Store (CDS), a one-stop shop for information about the climate: past, present and future. It provides easy access to a wide range of climate datasets via a searchable catalogue which provides a single point of access to quality-assured datasets.

These include observations, historical climate data records, estimates of Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) derived from Earth observations, global and regional climate reanalyses of past observations, seasonal forecasts and long-term climate projections.

Reducing infrastructure risks and costs

Jon Blower, Chief Technology Officer of the IEA, says: “This is a very important project, which has the potential to influence a wide range of standards and activities across Europe by providing the best information we have on climate change, in a form that these users can understand and consume.

“It will reduce the risks and costs associated with future climate-related damage and disruptions.

“The IEA is delighted to be involved in this initiative as it helps us to deliver our mission of making environmental data more useful in addressing real-world problems.”

Climate change standards for architects and engineers

Jorge Paz, Climate Data Scientist at Tecnalia, who is leading the project, said: “Architects and engineers need to make use of new information that will operate well in potential climate projections. The project will generate synthesised climate datasets for two crucial areas: extreme weather hazards (such as heatwaves) and a comprehensive modelled, average ‘design year’ with internal variability. The design of a wide range of infrastructure from houses to power plants will be based on these datasets.”

The project will also produce a range of use-cases in partner with research, consultancy and standardisation/certification organisations across Europe – JDCL and BSI from UK; ENEA from Italy; CAS from Netherlands and AENOR from Spain. These will be aimed at different users, including city planners, providing examples of how to use the datasets.

Flagship European programme

Jorge added: “It is an ambitious role to change how infrastructure is being designed because past records are useless in the face of the climate change we are already experiencing.”

The need for the new standardised climate projection datasets grew out of an earlier C3S project led by the IEA – SECTEUR – a Europe-wide gathering of evidence identifying the needs and information gaps across six key sectors, including infrastructure.

Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) is part of the European Union’s flagship Earth Observation Programme which delivers freely accessible operational data and information services to provide users with reliable and up-to-date information related to environmental issues.

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A screengrab from the Copernicus Climate Change Service website
Click on the image to read more about this Copernicus Climate Change Service project on the C3S website
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