Multi-Model Framework for Investigating Potential Climate Change Impacts on Interdependent Critical Infrastructure

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Linda Sylvester and Melissa R Allen, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, United States
Built infrastructure consists of a series of interconnected networks with many coupled interdependencies. Traditionally, risk and vulnerability assessments are conducted one infrastructure at a time, considering only direct impacts on built and planned assets. However, extreme events caused by climate change affect local communities in different respects and stress vital interconnected infrastructures in complex ways that cannot be captured with traditional risk assessment methodologies. We employ a combination of high-performance computing, geographical information science, and imaging methods to examine the impacts of climate change on infrastructure for cities in two different climate regions: Chicago, Illinois in the Midwest and Portland, Maine (and Casco Bay area) in the Northeast. In Illinois, we evaluate effects of changes in regional temperature and precipitation, informed by an extreme climate change projection, population growth and migration, water supply, and technological development, on electricity generation and consumption. In Maine, we determine the aggregate effects of sea level rise, changing precipitation patterns, and population shifts on the depth of the freshwater-saltwater interface in coastal aquifers and the implications of these changes for water supply in general. The purpose of these efforts is to develop a multi-model framework for investigating potential climate change impacts on interdependent critical infrastructure assessing both vulnerabilities and alternative adaptive measures.