Risk identification

Goal

The purpose of the risk identification stage is to identify all hazards and significant consequences  to be further investigated in the Risk Analysis stage. This combination is also called an Impact Chain1)EC (2010). Risk Assessment and Mapping Guidelines for Disaster Management. COMMISSION STAFF WORKING PAPER. Brussels, 21.12.2010 SEC(2010) 1626 final..

Preconditions

The identified climate threats can be used as a starting point for this step.

Outcomes

The outcome of the risk identification stage is a work plan for the Risk Assessment and a listing of the different identified risks (or: Impact Chains) that can be analysed in more detail in the risk analysis. This listing will include a brief description for each identified risk 2)EC (2010). Risk Assessment and Mapping Guidelines for Disaster Management. COMMISSION STAFF WORKING PAPER. Brussels, 21.12.2010 SEC(2010) 1626 final..

Guidelines

Preparation

Preparation of the Risk Assessment consists of finding a common agreement with the participants and relevant stakeholders of the Assessment process about the overall objectives, scope, roles and responsibilities, scenario settings and the target audience and to develop a work plan for the assessment.

Risk-adapted Vulnerability Assessment schema

Risk-adapted Vulnerability Assessment schema – showing constituent elements of risk and how they connect

Impact Chains

An Impact Chain describes a cause-effect relationship among elements that contribute to the consequences of a given combination of hazard and exposed object. As a prerequisite to develop Impact Chains, you must identify the hazards and exposed objects of interest. The key question is “which sensitivities and coping capacities might influence the nature and extent of impacts?” You develop Impact Chains by means of Impact Chain diagrams, which make these relationships visible. This development takes place usually in joint workshops with experts and stakeholders. Be aware that impact chains are not exhaustive, but describe the common understanding of the stakeholders present at the workshop.

The following risk components can be further examined when developing Impact Chain Diagrams together with relevant experts and stakeholders:

  1. Determine exposure and hazard combinations
  2. Identify potential impacts
  3. Determine sensitivity
  4. Determine coping capacity
  5. Identify drivers and stressors

Finally, the resulting set of Impact Chain diagrams for each relevant hazard can be analysed to determine a risk level (none, low, moderate, high) for each of them.

ic-diagram-example

Example of impact chain diagram

Impact Chains can be seen as a qualitative risk assessment and are a good foundation for a quantitative risk analysis.

Risk identification should be based as much as possible on quantitative (historical, statistical) data. However, it is appropriate to extensively use also qualitative methods, such as expert opinions, intelligence information, check-lists, systematic team approaches, inductive reasoning techniques, or other. Techniques to improve the completeness of the risk identification process may also include brainstorming and Delphi methodology (interactive forecasting method relying on a panel of experts)3)EC (2010). Risk Assessment and Mapping Guidelines for Disaster Management. COMMISSION STAFF WORKING PAPER. Brussels, 21.12.2010 SEC(2010) 1626 final..

Experiences

Greater Manchester

Critical infrastructure is central to Greater Manchester’s (GM) future. The achievement of the city’s growth and public sector reform ambitions, as set out in the Greater Manchester Strategy4)https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/ourpeopleourplace, requires an effective critical infrastructure network. Climate change and extreme weather events such as flooding and heat waves pose risks to critical infrastructure assets and the provision of related services. As a result, the EcoCities project identified adapting and building the resilience of critical infrastructure to climate change as a key task for GM5)http://www.adaptingmanchester.co.uk/ten-minute-read.

Risk assessments are central to adapting and building resilience to climate change and using this process to identify and evaluate risk to GM’s critical infrastructure is seen as essential to supporting resilient and sustainable growth within the City Region. As a result of the RESIN project, GM therefore committed to producing its first climate change risk assessment of critical infrastructure which aimed to:

This was developed further from the climate threat tasks reported under section 1.1., scoping. The next stage of the risk assessment required the likelihood of climate hazards that influence the occurrence of related impacts to critical infrastructure to be assessed.

The next stage of the risk assessment involved evaluating, in a GM context, the consequences of extreme weather and climate change impacts to critical infrastructure. A stakeholder-led evaluation of consequences was undertaken which involved the completion of a questionnaire.

A full write up of GM’s critical infrastructure risk assessment process can be downloaded from HERE.

Supporting tools and methods

IVAVIA  – Preparing the Vulnerability Assessmenti

The IVAVIA Guideline supports the user in performing a risk-based Vulnerability Assessment by facilitating the understanding of cause-effect relationships of climate change, identify geographical hotspots of vulnerability and risk, and assess what impact on people, economy and built-up area under study can be expected now and for the future due to the changing climate

IVAVIA  – Developing Impact Chainsi

The IVAVIA method supports the user in performing a risk-based Vulnerability Assessment by facilitating the understanding of cause-effect relationships of climate change, identify geographical hotspots of vulnerability and risk, and assess what impact on people, economy and built-up area under study can be expected now and for the future due to the changing climate

IVAVIA  – Impact Chain Editor Plusi

The Impact Chain Editor Plus (ICE+) is a tool to create Impact Chain Diagrams.

CLIMADA Natural catastrophe damage modeli

CLIMADA is a probabilistic natural catastrophe damage model, that also calculates averted damage (benefit) thanks to adaptation measures of any kind (from grey to green infrastructure, behavioural, etc.). It is based on the Economics of Climate Adaptation (ECA) Methodology, Method is very quantitative and requires a high level of expertise to operate.

Blue Green Dreami

Blue green dream is a tool used in a commercial consultancy process  that calculate how adaptation measures influence water, energy, comfort and financial costs/savings. It supports the modelling and calculation of water management situations before and after adaptation measures have been taken.

BBK Method of Risk Analysis for Civil Protection

This method thoroughly describes the steps to take to identify and analyse risks for civil protection.

RESIN European Climate Risk Typologyi

The RESIN climate risk typology visualises Europe’s climate risk ‘landscape’ and supports climate change adaptation and resilience activity in European countries, regions and cities. It can be used as a quick way to gain insights in the main risks facing your region. It is not a complete replacement of other, more thorough methods.

TAUW urban heat mapsi

This tool maps the Urban Heat Island based on detailed georeferenced information of urban structures and a parametrisation of the effect on ambient temperature or PET on the afternoon of a hot day.

DIN SPEC 35811

This method describes how scenario planning can be used to identify and evaluate the whole system of external influences and deriving appropriate strategies for adaptation. In particular, the step 1 to 5 of the Integrative scenario process can be used to determine the risks that should be taken into account in the adaptation plan.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1, 2, 3. EC (2010). Risk Assessment and Mapping Guidelines for Disaster Management. COMMISSION STAFF WORKING PAPER. Brussels, 21.12.2010 SEC(2010) 1626 final.
4. https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/ourpeopleourplace
5. http://www.adaptingmanchester.co.uk/ten-minute-read
6. If you would want to use the resulting Impact Chains as input for other RESIN tools, they have to be further digitalised, e.g. by using the Impact Chain Editor plus