Climate Change Threat and Vulnerability Risk Analysis

Catastrophic flooding and winds will hamper efforts to return to “normal”.

Cardno, as a subcontractor to a prime, fielded a multi-skill set team of technical professionals and managed the 5-year, 3-phase project that identified and prioritized levels of risk at client owned properties to identify the Top 10 properties most at risk to climate change threats.

Site-specific assessments identified opportunities and priorities for adaptation and resilience improvement through protection and renovation investments and property and system vulnerability; and risks to direct and collateral climate change threats.

Phase 1 of the Climate Change Risk Analysis project began in 2011 with an inventory of over 3200 properties. Risk analysis resulted in a list of 110 mission-critical properties at highest risk to impacts from climate change. These 110 properties were further prioritized to identify the Top 10 mission-critical properties at the highest risk. Climate change threats including mean sea level rise and severe weather events.

The analysis used a risk-based analysis and prioritization approach that combined climate change likelihood and severity indicators to identify the level of mission-critical property risk to climate change impacts. The project analyzed complexes of offices, laboratories, warehouses, storage buildings, docks and other technical facilities.

Phase 2 of the project analyzed additional climate change threats including severe hail, tornadoes and drought, re-screened the entire inventory and identified additional properties at the highest risk to climate change threats. The additional properties identified demonstrated that going beyond just the top 10 created a better understanding of the entire high risk portfolio.

Catastrophic flooding and winds will hamper efforts to return to “normal”.

Catastrophic flooding and winds will hamper efforts to return to “normal”.

Phase 3 of the project incorporated potential threats identified in the first and second phases into site-specific analysis and the development facility-specific adaptation and resilience improvement plans and projects. A major part of Phase 3 was the identification and development of:

  • Guiding principles for facility and asset investment planning and involving climate change events;
  • A standardized process for identifying and prioritizing assets and local climate change threats, vulnerabilities and risks;
  • Site-specific opportunities for adaptation, protection and hardening;
  • Site-specific climate change risk mitigation, adaptation and resilience improvement plans;
  • Rough Order of Magnitude cost estimates of investments in adaptation and resilience improvements.

Also identified in Phase 3 were regional and local climate change/sever weather event planning efforts that facilities could benefit from participating along with new stakeholders from which to learn. Such integrated planning efforts can ultimately improve facility resilience and adaptation initiatives.