PP1: Identification and assessment of coping measures for EWEs

Summary

This programme package has led to the identification and assessment of coping methods for dealing with extreme weather events.

Methods adopted have included, for example, green space or street spraying to cope with heatwaves, or flood-proof construction to protect property and infrastructure, to more simple solutions such as fan-evaporation cooling for individual comfort. A range of coping methods will be identified and evaluated for current and future extreme weather.

The output from this programme package provides technical information on coping methods which is essential for research into the barriers and drivers of their uptake by individuals, SMEs and local community carried out by PP2.

Objectives:

  • To identify existing coping measures for dealing with extreme weather events; these include community, building, and personal level measures that are based on technical, physiological and psychological processes and effects. Technical coping measures, based on physics (e.g. heat transfer, fluid mechanics), are the most prevalent, although people-based physiological and psychological coping measures and also effective.
  • To assess the coping measures in terms of their suitability for UK climate and buildings, their effectiveness for risk reduction, and any technical aspects which may affect their uptake.
  • To support and integrate with community barrier/driver research in PP2 by providing the required technical information on coping measures and their performances.
  • To support and integrate with the impact simulator development (PP3) by providing the required information on the performance of coping measures in risk reduction.
  • To produce an initial matrix of coping measures, jointly with PP2 (community barrier/driver), which have been assessed and ranked for their technical performances and potential for wide uptake.

Rationale:

To effectively cope with extreme weather events (EWE), the following important and closely-linked elements would be required: evidence on the probability and the impact of the EWEs, technologies and coping measures that mitigate the impact, as well as communities that are willing and able to take up the coping measures. This programme package is concerned with the second element – identifying and assessing methods (technology and people) for coping with EWEs. It is an integral part of the project as it provides technical information on coping measures which is essential for research into the barriers and drivers of their uptake by the community (PP2). This interaction between the community and coping measure research will also result in a tool that would assist in the choosing of coping measures – a matrix of technologies and methods, which have been assessed and ranked for their technical performances and potentials for wide community uptake. A further interaction, with the development of the EWE impact simulator (PP3), will contribute to the development of the latter.

Methodology

The first part of the programme package involves systematic identification of existing coping measures at the levels of the community (e.g., Green spaces; street spraying), buildings (e.g., flood proof construction) and individuals (e.g., fan-evaporation cooling).

Coping measures considered will include those based on technology (e.g., radiation shield), physiology (e.g., adaptive acclimatisation, slower pace, siesta) and psychology (e.g., metabolic rate reduction through calming measures and activities).

Community and building level techniques are the most prevalent and many are highly effective. However, personal level measures should not be overlooked as they normally do not require significant construction efforts or financial resources and are, in this sense, easier to implement. In addition, physiological and psychological methods have the advantage over many technology based methods in that they do not produce carbon emissions that contribute to the EWEs in the first place.

The identification process will involve desk base literature search. When appropriate, reference will be made to international regions and climates where people have been coping with, reasonably successfully, weather patterns regarded as EWEs in the UK. Consultation with expertise available within the consortium and discussions with those external to the group will be carried out as required.

A brief analysis of perceived SWOT of the identified coping measures will be carried out prior to the more detailed examinations of their performances in the second part.

The second part of the PP is concerned with assessing the effectiveness of the coping measures in mitigating the impact of EWEs.

The assessment will involve the review and analysis of existing research literature and historical data. Additional analysis (e.g. lump parameter theoretical deduction, noting uncertainties), supplemented by consultation with internal and external researchers, will be carried out in some cases where research literature does not provide direct results on certain coping measures, where contradicting results are encountered, where data were relating to climates or buildings significantly different from those in the UK, or where the technology will not operate in the standard conditions for which the performance data are produced. The general suitability of the coping measures for the UK climate and buildings will also be considered.

In addition to technical performances, aspects of the coping measures affecting implementation would also be examined. These include initial costs, running and maintenance costs, availability of hardware and skills for installation, level of intervention required from governments, etc. They will be noted and ranked into low, medium and high categories. Coping measures which ranked well in these aspects (as well as their technical performances) could be given priority in community driver/barrier research, particularly at the interview and focus group stages. Coping measures with greater technical potential for enabling greater individual resilience and less reliance on government interventions would be particularly highlighted.

The third part involves interactions with other programme packages. This is not a separate part but one rooted in the two parts presented above.

Specifically, this part supports and integrates with community barrier and driver research (PP2) by providing the information on coping measures to underpin the investigations into their uptake. On the other hand, results from the community drivers/barrier research (particularly those from the interview and focus group stages) will be fed back to this PP to improve coping measures. This interaction will further allow the production of an initial matrix (to be expanded with enlarged community research in the future) of coping measures, which have been assessed and ranked for their technical performances and potentials for wide community uptake. Different recommendations will be made for their uptake according to their positions within the matrix.

Information on the performances of coping measures will be provided to the impact simulator PP (PP3) to assist the development of the latter. An investigation will be carried out, jointly with PP3, into the effect of different coping measures on the results of the impact simulator that predicts social-economic influence of EWEs. Conversely, information emerging from PP4 (weather generator) and PP5 (EWE probability mapping) may prompt a re-examination of the suitability of the identified coping measures.

The interactions are implemented in stages throughout the project duration, using initial and more refined results as the research progresses. The timings of the interactions as well as delivery of outputs are indicated in the overall project Gantt chart.

Deliverables

  • Performance information of community, building, and individual level coping measures that are based on technical, physiological and psychological processes and effects;
  • Developed jointly with community drivers/barrier research (PP2), an initial matrix of coping measures mapped according to their technical performance and community acceptance rankings;
  • Obtained jointly with Evidence research (PP3), results on the effect of different copingmeasures on the results of the impact simulator that predicts social-economic influence of EWEs.

Innovation

Integration with driver/barrier research, impact simulator development and other parts of the project to deliver information, tools and better understanding to enhance the resilience of the community to EWEs.

Programme package management

The programme package will be lead by Professor L Shao of IESD at De Montfort University. He will oversee the detailed co-ordination, planning, monitoring and reporting of the programme package (PP). Professor L Shao and Dr C Goodier at Coventry University will be jointly responsible for links with other individual PPs in the project. They will meet formally every six months to review the progress of the PP although members of the PP team at both DMU and Coventry will meet as required given the close proximity of the two institutions.

Prof Shao (first supervisor) and Dr Goodier will jointly supervise a PhD? student, who will investigate heat wave and storm coping strategies. The PhD? student will be provided with the work programme and have weekly meetings with Prof Shao, particularly at the start of the project, to identify/tackle problems and to ensure that he/she completes various tasks on time. The student will be encouraged to communicate closely with researchers in other PPs and attend related meetings/workshops. Dr Goodier will investigate flooding coping measures and their effectiveness, in addition to provide supervision to the students in relation to heat wave and storm investigations.

Rob Bexley

Researcher and Activist at Various Causes
I'm in constant pursuit of environmental changes that can help keep our planet safe for the long term. Contact me via email at crewweatherextreme@gmail.com

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