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EU-CIRCLE Report Summary

Project ID: 653824

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EU-CIRCLE (A panEuropean framework for strengthening Critical Infrastructure resilience to climate change)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

It is presently acknowledged and scientifically proven than climate related hazards have the potential to substantially affect the lifespan, serviceability or even destroy Critical Infrastructures (CI), such as the energy, transportation, telecommunications, buildings, marine and water management facilities. CI constitute the backbones for the smooth operation of modern societies, their partial unavailability or complete destruction may result in significant impacts to the people, environment and the society and devastating economic losses. Furthermore, they are inherently interconnected and interdependent systems, and thus their failure frequently leads to domino effects.
As CI have lifelines that span in several decades, it is imperative to generate scientifically truthful and validated knowledge on the potential risks of climate change and future extreme weather events, as a viable pathway for making resilient infrastructures. Risks can be assessed on how patterns of frequency, intensity and extent of the climate hazardous events would change, based on downscaled climate projections. EU-CIRCLE objective is to estimate changes in the future climate, increased probability of occurrence of disastrous events may impact the operation of key assets and essential services that interconnected CI deliver.
EU-CIRCLE’s builds upon a comprehensive, interdisciplinary risk and resilience management framework. Methodologically, it is based on the identification of climate risks (stressors) on individual key assets and moves through the assessment of the consequences of climate change elements to the operability and organizational integrity of the services provided by the CIs, aiming to develop resilience indicators and to identify adequate and efficient adaptation options. In support, the Climate Infrastructure Resilience Platform (CIRP), has been established as an end-to-end modelling environment where interdisciplinary analyses can cooperate towards understanding interdependencies, validate results, and present findings in a unified way.
The developed concepts and tools will be tested in four diverse case studies around Europe, dryness and forest fires in South France, storm and sea surges in the Baltic, coastal flooding the UK and rapid winter flooding in Dresden. An international case concerning impacts of a tropical cyclone-related threats to interconnected CI in Bangladesh, due to exacerbate future climate regime is also planned.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The project during the first reporting period made solid progress for the establishment of a contextual framework for assessing risk, analyzing consequences, strengthening resilience and adapting interconnected critical infrastructures to climate hazards and climate change. The continuous interaction and consultation (e.g. questionnaires, personal interviews, focus groups in different partner countries, Consolidation Meeting in Milan) with the project’s end users and stakeholders proved a pivotal step in elaborating their needs and guiding the envisaged output of the project. Their input was instrumental in elaborating a coherent risk and resilience framework that is capable to identify the climate risks to interconnected CI within a region, accounting for impacts directly to the CI (damages, performance levels, safety and reliability of assets, etc.) and also affecting society as a whole, the environment and the economic sectors for a region of interest. Complementary the main resilience elements have been identified, which are linked to service restoration and business continuity in the case of extreme events including also adaptation options preparing for future climate.
A main outcome during RP1, is the translation of the theoretical framework into a dynamic simulation environment. The framework includes tools for processing climate data, development of input layers based on hazard models aiming to estimate likelihood and exposure of CIs to extreme events, assessing the impacts to the supply and demand of CI services and the induced damages. It supports simulation of interconnected CI networks under a variety of system conditions. CIRP is designed and implemented as a user-friendly environment allowing users to analyse what-if scenarios: leveraging model selection, providing access to climate data repositories and CI inventories in order to calculate impact for any kind of climate hazard and CI. Additionally, a virtual reference data set (SimICI) has been created to simulate reference scenarios for major hazards and interconnected CI in the European context. This data set will also be a key outreaching activity, towards the scientific community, given the scarcity of credible CI operational data.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Thus far significant steps are made towards the establishment of a common risk and resilience framework for interconnected CI. It is based on the concept that CI provide services to society, a flow of goods / commodities pertinent to each type, but respecting the unique characteristics of each sector. The proposed Consequence – based Risk Modelling allows to extend the EU-CIRCLE concept beyond boundaries possessed by damage assessment methods. Interconnected network analyses coupled with CI sector simulation models define more accurately new CI risk metrics and resilience indicators. It allows users to link asset based damage assessment to CI business continuity under extreme stress conditions and strive for optimal adaptation measures.
Additionally, the proposed framework is highly flexible to include resilience capacities, once they are interpreted into modelling components and allow for the orchestration of different analytic components. The proposed approach also made possible to propose metrics for different types of impacts both directly to the CI (damages, performance levels, economic, losses of lives, environmental, etc) as well as indirect impacts to the society, the environment and other sectors of the economy. A number of indicators is defined, which are fully aligned to EU and International policies, and significant work is made to expand them as operational metrics for CI resilience. The proposed approach managed to bridge temporal scales, accounting for the short term impact of extreme events on the business continuity element of the CI and the longer term adaptation options.
This methodological and conceptual framework developed has been introduced in the CIRP software. It includes authoring tools for editing the capabilities, the attributes and the vulnerability elements of the CI assets, designing their interdependencies in terms of functional flow blog diagrams and providing a well-defined plug-in mechanism where new algorithms/analyses can be added anywhere along the analysis workflow. CIRP has been implemented to enable scientists and users to create new end-to-end analyses or enhance existing ones, modelling various hazards impacts on CIs, developing risk reduction strategies and implementing adaptation strategies to minimize their impact on societies.
The EU-CIRCLE aspires to provide users trustworthy guidance and support (frameworks, tools and CIRP) to perform specific climate resilience analysis and related assessments. EU-CIRCLE has made a consistent effort to define a coherent, transparent and justified orchestration of tools, linking EU and International Policies so as to shift the current CI thinking from ‘prevention and response’ to a holistic “resilience and adaptation framework”.

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