Increasing climate resilience of infrastructure systems using new data and visualisation, analytics, and decision support tools

09:00 Thursday 30 May


Room S10


Fahim Tonmoy (Australia) 1; Jean Palutikof (Australia) 3

1 - School of Engineering and Built Environment, Griffith University, Australia; 2 - Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering, University of Central Florida, USA; 3 - National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, (NCCARF), Griffith University, Australia

Increased frequency and intensity of extreme events due to climate change are likely to affect infrastructure and hence regional economies and millions of people all over the world. By 2040, the global population will grow by almost 2 billion people – a 25% increase. Rural to urban migration will continue with the urban population growing by 46%, triggering massive stress on existing aging infrastructure and demand for new infrastructure. Thus, our cities have become more vulnerable because of the increasing rate of urban migration and greater concentration of critical infrastructures, many of them located in coastal and other areas naturally vulnerable to major disasters. The potential for severe and widespread impacts of disasters has never been greater in society than today, and as climate change accelerates in the future, the risks are only likely to grow.

Our infrastructure systems are becoming increasingly interconnected and interdependent. Critical infrastructures such as telecommunications, electric power generation and transmission, transportation, banking and finance, water supply systems, hospitals and emergency services have become the components of a larger interconnected system. A disruption in one infrastructure can cascade into multiple infrastructures, with massive risks to economies, businesses and society in general. Therefore, it is important to investigate innovative ways to increase the resilience of our interconnected and interdependent infrastructure systems, and identify data, methods and tools that can help build adaptive capacity to present-day and future climate change.

This session will aim to attract presentations from the following topics:

  • Development and use of knowledge and data portals to support adaptation to climate change by government, infrastructure providers and managers, including policy development as well as planning and project implementation
  • Datasets and data analytics approaches to support climate change adaptation in infrastructure
  • New developments in climate change resilience, risk and vulnerability analysis methods for infrastructure systems
  • Models of interdependent infrastructure systems and how these can be used to explore vulnerabilities to climate change and changing frequency and severity of extreme events
  • Application of modelling approaches for infrastructure systems disruptions and disruptive networks modelling to identification of adaptation options
  • Interrelationships between Infrastructure and emergency management, including co-benefits of resilience building, and data and methods to support systems approaches to adaptation
  • Risk and resilience analysis of critical infrastructures
  • Sensing and monitoring of infrastructures for disaster risk reduction
  • Decision support tools for planning resilient infrastructure systems

Target audience

Who: Researchers, practitioners and policy makers interested in increasing resilience of infrastructure systems

Why: This session will explore data, guidance and information provision in support of adaptation planning and project implementation, including strategies for adaptation of infrastructure systems to climate change, especially taking into account interdependencies and cascading impacts of extreme events. The session will showcase recent developments, examples in the use of data, new technologies, decision support tools, knowledge portals etc. that aim to support adaptation planning and project implementation. Attendees will be able to hear from experts in this field and engage in discussion and networking with them.

Proposed format for the session

6 speakers, 13 min slot for each presenter (10 min presentation and 3 minute Q&A).

At the end, a 20 min panel discussion with all presenters as a panellist and discussion will be facilitated by Dr Fahim Tonmoy and Prof Jean Palutikof.

Contributing Authors abstracts

1. Dr David Rissik, Senior Principal, Climate Change Adaptation, BMT – The challenge of providing health care to small populations and large distances. Building resilience in the hospital and health service of Queensland, Australia

Queensland, Australia covers more than 1.8 million km2 with only 5 million population. Most people live along the south east cost (Brisbane, Ipswich, Gold and Sunshine Coasts). The rest of the state has very low population densities. The health system is delivered on a regional basis with 16 Hospital and Health Services operating in the state. These services oversee all aspects of the health in their regions including addressing the challenges of climate change. We present case studies from two regional areas in Queensland, outlining how climate change presents challenges for health service infrastructure, and highlight major issues with interdependencies between hospital systems, road networks and other infrastructure which are required to deliver health services in future. The case studies include:

  1. The Darling Downs, a rural agricultural region with challenges of heat and heatwaves, droughts and floods.
  2. The Torres Strait, a group of several hundred islands spread over more than 48,000 km2 of shallow sea located between Papua New Guinea and the tip of Cape York on mainland Australia. Climate change impacts include sea-level rise, increased heat, and stronger cyclones

2. Lucie Royer, Climate change and adaptation Consulting and research, TEC Conseil – Adaptation pathways in practice: a toolkit for authorities

Climate change adaptation strategies currently tend to favour one-off or temporary measures rather than a combination of short, medium and long-term actions. Local and territorial authorities increasingly need innovative methodologies and tools to plan for long-term and progressive adaptation strategies to face current and future climate change.

In this context, the toolkit Objectif’Climat Trajectoires (owned by the ADEME), provides a methodological framework aiming at mapping adaptation pathways over the near- and long-term, by planning different actions to be implemented over time in the light of climate changes and their impacts.

Adaptation pathways allow a flexible and incremental planning process enabling a continuous learning and improvement of adaptation. This innovative approach fosters efficient and robust adaptation by combining short and long-time actions and keeping different options open for the future.

The innovation brought by the tool Objectif’Climat Trajectoires lies into its adaptability to a broad range of sectors, for local to regional applications. It fosters collaborative work between interdisciplinary teams, mobilize collective knowledge around these pathways and support robust decision making amongst authorities and governments.

The authors will present the philosophy and concepts of this tool, through different supports and case studies.

3. Prof Jean Palutikof, Director, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, (NCCARF), Griffith University, Australia – Ensuring relevance, accessibility and credibility of decision support resources: the case of CoastAdapt

In 2014-17, the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility constructed a decision support system, CoastAdapt, to support the coastal community in Australia, specifically local governments to understand risks to their assets and adapt to present-day and future climate change and sea-level rise. Decision support resources can only be useful, used and long-lived if there is strong collaboration between developers and potential users throughout the design, build and evaluation. This presentation describes the motivations and activities that took place during the construction of CoastAdapt. Throughout the development process, the focus was on understanding and addressing user needs. The first step of consultation was aimed to identify, through an online survey and workshops, the knowledge gaps and barriers that should be addressed by CoastAdapt. The responses fed into the design and build, together with additional feedback from users on layout and content.

Following release of the CoastAdapt beta-version, a second phase of consultation was undertaken using an online survey, comment boxes on the website and workshops. Twelve six-week test cases were carried out by users from different sectors to understand whether CoastAdapt is fit for purpose in addressing ‘real-world’ adaptation situations. The end result is a supportive framework for coastal adaptation

4. Roger Street, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, UK – Building resilience in UK infrastructure: Exploring the roles of adaptation reporting and resilience research

Infrastructure operators and owners within the UK have to a large extent embraced adaptation and resilience of their assets and services as reflected within the Adaptation Reports under the UK Climate Change Act (2008). This has not come without challenges. This presentation will explore these challenges and lessons learnt by reporters, including the increasing recognition of the importance of interdependencies. The reports also show a diversity of capacities within the infrastructure community to manage and engage in adaptation and resilience, but also an increasing interest, despite the associated challenges, in sharing and working together.
The presentation will also explore the role of research and innovation in supporting efforts directed at building infrastructure resilience. A series of dialogues with researchers and infrastructure operators and owners have shed some light on the expectations from both perspectives.

.5. Dr. Fahim Tonmoy, Senior Engineer, BMT Global, Adjunct Research Fellow, School of Engineering, Griffith University and Adjunct Lecturer, School of Civil Engineering, University of Sydney – Coastal disaster resilience under smart city frameworks: current state, challenges, and opportunities

Recent development in information technology, smart city, data science and availability of big data sources such as social media, mobile phones, and ubiquitous sensors allow us to collect data with details and coverage unimaginable before and can assist in better managing disaster risks. In this paper, we analyse a set of grey literature case studies of smart city around the world and investigate how smart systems are used for increasing ‘coastal disaster’ resilience. We also review a set of academic literature on this topic to understand major innovation trend. Finally we discuss how academic innovation in this field has infiltrated in the application case studies.We find that, although smart city has become a

‘buzz’ word, its application in increasing coastal disaster resilience has been limited. As ‘smart cities’ are run by connected devices based on IT system, they are likely to become the weakest link in the chain and essential public services such as water supply, transportation, health-care etc. can become vulnerable to any disturbance in the IT or electric supply system due to coastal disasters. ​

6. Rafaela Matos, LNEC – Advice In Collaborative Management In Climate Change Adaptation

The H2020 BINGO project is being developed since 2015, by a consortium of 20 organizations from 6 European countries and a team of around 80 water related professionals. The project undertook climate change modelling, followed by water cycle modelling and evaluation of impacts and risks of future climate to representative activities and end users of water. BINGO engaged individual farmers in Cyprus and large water management organizations in Germany; water utilities in Portugal and Norway and municipalities in Spain. Soil moisture and wildlife protection were addressed in The Netherlands and specific field equipment designed and installed for onsite measurements. Cyprus followed the methodology and equipment used in order to better assesses droughts. These are a few examples of the rich diversity of climate, land uses, identities, legal and institutional frameworks, different personnel backgrounds & organisations and levels of commitments/ roles within BINGO. The project delivers to society a portfolio of climate change adaptation strategies to be used by different stakeholders and outside the geographic context of the project.

Beyond the stakeholders from the BINGO consortium, Communities of Practice (CoPs) were created at the 6 countries, engaging water users and other sectors of the society all along the project, following a predefined roadmap. It is our belief that the experience of coordination such a variety of people, knowledges, interests and perspectives enables the authors to share and provide guidelines into Collaborative Management in Climate Change Adaptation. Among others, key aspects may be summarized as follows:

  • Engage actively everyone in a common goal, guiding and valuing all contributions;
  • Get started in planning by ensuring commitment and acceptance of managerial principles and structure;
  • Promote good communication and acknowledgment of different perspectives;
  • Face difficulties from the start, enhancing collaborative problem solving, and coordination across different sectors and levels;