OpenCLIM (Open CLimate Impacts Modelling framework) in its first iteration is a two year endeavour piloting better understanding of climate risks and adaptation needs in the UK. OpenCLIM is an integrated impact assessment model that brings together existing models into a coherent whole for highlighting the impacts of climate change and informing adaptation needs. Once the concept is proven, its future uses are intended to include the UK national Climate Change Risk Assessments, a statutory requirement of the UK Climate Change Act 2008, as well as other national and place-based adaptation information needs.
The flexible model framework developed by the project links existing models to consider UK-wide climate impacts and risks, including potential adaptation options. In our first version, it considers the implications of climate change on crops, heat stress, flooding, drought and water supply. It includes changes to urban building density and type, land surface material and biodiversity enhancement. Driving these future changes across these different sectors are the latest UK socioeconomic scenarios and UK climate scenarios.
Adaptation examples are modelled within each theme, simulating the impact of options to limit increasing risk, including permeable footpaths, afforestation, surface water storage, changing crop system, and acclimatisation to heat-stress. The project is engaging with users including the UK government, the devolved administrations, local government, and domain experts in each sector.
The project is considering case studies where national results are explored locally in greater detail. These include an urban analysis of Glasgow and the Clyde region, more rural analyses of the Norfolk Broads region and Northern Ireland, as well as supporting climate change risk assessments in the Highland Council region of Scotland. These case studies demonstrate the application and interpretation of the models to inform national analysis. Other case studies are hoped to be developed with additional resources and funding.
Flowchart illustrating the OpenCLIM modelling framework, which combines climate change (representing hazards) and population change (representing exposure and vulnerability) to simulate future climate change risk. Adaptation options are also modelled.
National stakeholders were invited to attend a showcase of our results in London on 29 March. Here, the OpenCLIM framework was outlined, along with policy-relevant science insights about climate change risks and adaptation needs. Almost 100 attendees gathered at Central Hall Westminster for formal plenary talks, a panel discussion with Q&A, and a deep-dive where attendees could unpick the fine details with team members from each of our six themes.
If you are interested in seeing the material presented at the showcase, the slides are available here, while a recording of the first plenary session is available here. Below is a short video introducing the OpenCLIM framework, while three shorter videos are linked in the resources section at the end of the page.
Our results database and data visualisation tool are still under development and will be ready for open access by the summer (the project ends in August 2023). Stakeholders were invited to form user-testing groups that, after incorporating feedback, will become training courses for new users to access OpenCLIM results, maps and information for use in future risk assessments.
Example risk maps output by OpenCLIM themes Heat, Flooding and Agriculture, for a 2C warming scenario.
The extent to which adaptation plans and programmes translate into tangible risk-reducing action on the ground, as opposed to adaptive capacity building, remains unclear. The UK Adaptation Inventory aims to address this by documenting adaptation ‘on the ground’, based on national reporting to government by public and private sector organisations and a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature. This analysis informs the national analysis in terms of identifying operational adaptation as distinct from aspirational adaptation.
OpenCLIM is also designed as an open-access platform to allow ongoing development of the integrated model. This uses the DAFNI platform to ensure a legacy beyond the initially funded period. The objective is to develop a community model where new and improved versions are easily incorporated and new and emerging science and policy questions can be easily investigated.
Use of DAFNI (Data & Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure) in OpenCLIM.
As such, future risk and adaptation assessments, including the Climate Change Risk Assessments and the National Adaptation Programme, could be linked to a living science process, drawing on evolving understanding and stakeholder needs.
This would include improving knowledge in the established sectors considered in OpenCLIM, developing better sectoral linkages and interactions, and adding new models of less established sectors and areas as they emerge. This flexibility includes the ability to reframe and pose new questions as they emerge.
Birkinshaw, S.J., Krivtsov, V. (2022). Evaluating the Effect of the Location and Design of Retention Ponds on Flooding in a Peri-Urban River Catchment. Land, 11(8), 1368. https://doi.org/10.3390/land11081368.
Butters, O., Robson, C., and Smith, B. (2023). OpenCLIM: A national scale framework for evaluating the effects of climate change for socio-economic scenarios and adaptation policies , EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-14835, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu23-14835.
Jenkins, K., Kennedy-Asser, A., Andrews, O., Lo, Y. T. E (2022) Updated projections of UK heat-related mortality using policy-relevant global warming levels and socio-economic scenarios. Environmental Research Letters. http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ac9cf3.
Jenkins, K., Ford, A., Robson. C., Nicholls. R.J. (2022) Identifying adaptation ‘on the ground’: Development of a UK adaptation Inventory. Climate Risk Management, 36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crm.2022.100430.
Kennedy-Asser, A.T., Owen, G., Griffith, G.J., Andrews, O., Lo, Y.T.E., Mitchell, D.M., Jenkins, K. Warren, R.F. (2022). Projected risks associated with heat stress in the UK Climate Projections (UKCP18). Environmental Research Letters.
Matthews, B., Hall, J., Batty, M., Blainey, S., Cassidy, N., Choudhary, R., Coca, D., Hallett, S., Harou, J., James, P., Lomax, N., Oliver, P., Sivakumar, A., Tryfonas, T., Varga, L., (2023). DAFNI: a computational platform to support infrastructure systems research, Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Smart Infrastructure and Construction, 0, 1-9, https://doi.org/10.1680/jsmic.22.00007.
Nicholls, R.J., Dawson, R.J., Warren, R., Matthews, B., Ford, A., Robson, C., Price, J., Minns, A. (2022). A framework for national risk and adaptation assessments across multiple sectors, AGU Fall Meeting 2022, Chicago, IL, 12-16 December 2022, id. U16B-02. https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2022AGUFM.U16B..02N/abstract.
Smith, B., Lewis, E., and Birkinshaw, S. (2023). National Hydrological Modelling of Climate Adaptation Impacts for the UK, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-15606, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu23-15606.
DAFNI (Data & Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure) https://www.dafni.ac.uk/
Jenkins, K., Ford, A., Robson. C., Nicholls. R.J. (2022) UK Adaptation Inventory (version 1). Available at: https://www.nismod.ac.uk/openclim/adaptation_inventory.
UK heat stress vulnerability shiny app https://akaresearch.shinyapps.io/heatstressvulnerability
University of East Anglia, Newcastle University, University of Bristol, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Science & Technology Facilities Council, Sayers & Partners.