Climate Extremes and Their Implications for Impact and Risk Assessment: Chapter 12 - Assessing vulnerability and risk of climate change

Elsevier, Bapon (SHM) Fakhruddin, Kate Boylan, Alec Wild, Rebekah Robertson, Chapter 12 - Assessing vulnerability and risk of climate change, Editor(s): Jana Sillmann, Sebastian Sippel, Simone Russo, Climate Extremes and Their Implications for Impact and Risk Assessment, Elsevier, 2020, Pages 217-241, 9780128148952
Bapon (SHM) Fakhruddina, Kate Boylan, Alec Wild, Rebekah Robertson

Assessments of vulnerability and risk of extreme weather or climate events are essential in order to inform and implement appropriate prevention, adaptation, and mitigation strategies. In the present situation, extreme variations of weather and climate have severe impacts, particularly in less-developed countries. Due to the complex nature and uncertainties of future climate change projections, it is not feasible to assess vulnerability at detailed scales for extreme weather events. When aiming to understand the assessment of hazard, exposure, vulnerability, and risk, there are two extreme operating scales, a global (e.g., in terms of climate change) and a local (e.g., in terms of natural hazards). Different approaches and methods exist for conducting hazard, exposure, vulnerability, and risk assessments, but often they are not able to address all aspects of physical science, engineering, and social science research. In this study, we discuss human vulnerability and risk assessment approaches, tools, and techniques that address natural hazards related to extreme climate events. Further, we identify research gaps in assessing hazard, exposure, vulnerability, and risk in response to extreme climate events. This paper reviews different vulnerability and risk frameworks, their strengths and weaknesses, and concludes that risk and vulnerability raised at different stages of the disaster cycle need to be based on multiscale, dynamic, and cross-scale analyses, consider resilience dimensions and provide innovative tools for understanding and assessing and for communicating to the users. Data and inherent low resolution of the information is a constraint for a detailed and comprehensive vulnerability and risk assessments approach. The solution should be informed based on different possible impacts scenarios and by choosing the most robust solutions. Robustness and uncertainty could be included as an additional criterion in decision-making strategies. Ensuring the resilience of these systems will help to reduce direct losses and costs of climate-induced hazards. Based on global case studies and good practices of strong critical infrastructure resilience, this chapter also highlights the importance of critical infrastructure resilience, different climate risk assessment frameworks available for identification and planning, and how to manage the uncertainty associated with climate risk.