David N. Bresch (Switzerland) 1; Gabriela Aznar Siguan (Switzerland) 1
1 - ETH ZURICH / MeteoSwiss
Improving the resilience of our societies in the face of volatile weather and climate change is an urgent priority today and will increase in importance in the decades to come. The climate of the past is by no means sufficient a basis for decisions going forward any more. Never in history a society has known so much about the processes that shape its future and obtained a wealth of forward-looking weather and climate information – yet pre-emptive (and precautionary) action is not taking place as widespread as is it could be. While measures exist to adapt to an ever-changing environment, decision makers on all levels need the facts to identify the most cost-effective instruments, they need to know the potential weather and climate-related damages over the coming decades, to identify measures to mitigate these risks – and to decide whether the benefits will outweigh the costs. The Economics of Climate Adaptation (ECA) methodology implemented in CLIMADA provides decision makers with a fact base to answer these questions in a systematic way.
Starting from a comprehensive mapping of hazards, exposed assets and people and their specific vulnerability, CLIMADA implements state-of-the-art probabilistic risk modelling techniques (Monte Carlo simulations building on ensembles and weather generators) to integrate different economic development and climate impact scenarios. CLIMADA operates in a globally consistent fashion at high resolution (10 km) as well as in local applications at highest resolutions (100 m) and provides spatially explicit estimates of multi-hazard risk both today and under future projections. CLIMADA allows to assess a comprehensive portfolio of adaptation measures, quantifying the damage aversion potential and cost-benefit ratio for each measure. Not only can the effectiveness of measures both be displayed using maps and adaptation cost curves, CLIMADA also allows for the explicit treatment of various drivers of uncertainty. This way, CLIMADA has been applied in more than twenty climate adaptation studies worldwide, where it served as a solid underpinning to engage with stakeholders during all stages of these projects, in particular to deal with – and communicate – uncertainties. The fact that CLIMADA is open source and access proved essential to build trust into the outcomes by all stakeholders involved.
Such a comprehensive assessment of climate risk provides decision makers with the facts to design adaptation strategies, building on a balanced portfolio of prevention, intervention and risk transfer measures to pro-actively manage total climate risk and strengthen societal resilience.