Ottawa risk management consultancy Risk Sciences International has unveiled its Climate Change Hazards Information Portal (CCHIP), an online resource designed to help organizations factor the impact of climate change into decisions relating to infrastructure, resources and public health.
Using data from 40 Global Climate Models among other sources, CCHIP tailors its information for specific locations and industry sectors, to help planners, engineers and decision makers implement actionable conclusions relating to climate and severe weather-related conditions.
“CCHIP makes climate data accessible to a greater cross-section of Canadian society than ever before,” said Risk Sciences International CEO Daniel Krewski. “What was once at the finger-tips of a select few groups across Canada is now within reach of a much larger cross-section of communities, organizations, and other groups interested in building the projections of climate change models, and other important climate change indicators, into their planning and infrastructure decisions.”
CCHIP was unveiled at risk management and climate change preparedness symposium Action Canada 2016 in Ottawa.
“Climate change is real, and as much as we’re starting to make changes to ensure its worst effects are never realized, a certain degree of adaptation will be required,” said Risk Sciences International co-founder and chief operating officer Greg Paoli.
Approximately 75% of buildings in the Greater Toronto Area were constructed before the introduction of modern flood control measures, a fact that was brought painfully home during the July 8, 2013 storm that dumped 126 millimeters of rain on the city.
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That storm eventually resulted in an insurance payout of nearly $1 billion and has driven up insurance premiums by 15% to 20% for many homeowners.
That event, along with the Calgary floods, capped off a record setting year for insurance payouts, totaling $3.2 billion in 2013.
Working with the Northern Climate ExChange, Risk Sciences International helped evaluate the impact of climate change on the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road, a diamond mine access road built mainly over frozen lakes in the southeastern region of the Northwest Territories.
The number of consecutive days above 0 ̊C combined with temperature swings in excess of 18 ̊C could see the operating season of the ice road significantly reduced, making necessary more costly transportation options, such as airplane or helicopter.
Much like earthquake preparedness has changed building codes, CCHIP is another tool that can be used to inform how design standards for projects like overhead electricity transmission and telecommunication towers, dams, bridges or roads are likely to be affected by a changing climate.
Engineers and designers who consult the National Model Building Code of Canada or the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code, for example, can incorporate insights from CCHIP to help during design, construction and maintenance.
“We see CCHIP playing a potentially critical role in providing the users of our standards with the information and insights they need to build the climate-resilient infrastructure of tomorrow,” said Inga Hipz, Director of Sustainability Standards for the Canadian Standards Association.