Extreme weather, such as heavy downpours or heatwaves, represents a challenge to society that may become bigger in a changing climate. By working on climate adaptation, society can be better prepared when extreme events occur.
The HazardSupport project involves researchers conducting in-depth studies of users’ needs in order to be able to structure information to make it more useful as decision-making support for climate adaptation. Half way into the project, they have been conducting a user dialogue based on the new material produced by the researchers. The user dialogue is taking place based on case studies into downpours, floods and heatwaves.
Provides an insight into needs
How is the user dialogue helping you in your research?
“I’m struck by the fact that you need information in very different degrees of detail at different stages. In many cases it’s enough to have information at a general level. But where you’ve identified a need for action, a detailed study is needed,” says Lena Strömbäck, Head of Air Quality Research at SMHI and project manager of HazardSupport.
“Our challenge is to make the information relevant, but without too many details, while at the same time as researchers we have to feel that we’re conveying the results we’ve produced.”
Per-Anders Bergman, Director of Technology and Real Estate at Karlstad Municipality, is one of the participants in the project. He brings a user perspective from the case study of cloudbursts and floods:
"We’ll be using the researchers’ knowledge in order to plan and build, but also to produce base data for decisions on investments and base data for communication with citizens. So it’s important to help researchers to understand the practical consequences of climate change for those of us who are planning and building communities. After all, the everyday situations we face are different from those faced by researchers."
“For us, it's important to be able to discuss how we should set different risks against one another in order to obtain base data for decisions on which risk we should address first, and to have help with explaining complicated models in a simple way, for example using map data,” says Per-Anders Bergman.
The climate is changing
Information about the future climate is needed to be able to work on climate adaptation. Research is under way in Sweden and around the world in order to be able to describe future climate change in as much detail as possible.
The rapid climate change under way in the world is largely caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The countries of the world can work together to affect climate change by limiting emissions. The more emissions are limited, the less global warming climate change will produce, which means the effects can also be limited. At the same time, communities all over the world must adapt to both current and future climate, by means of what is known as climate adaptation.
The HazardSupport project includes both SMHI and SEI (Stockholm Environment Institute), as well as participants in case studies. It is being funded by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB).