The University of Southampton
Engineering

Research project: Quantifying projected impacts under 2°C warming (IMPACT2C)

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An internationally important EU funded project to help strategically plan for, and understand climate change, it's impacts and consequences in Europe and beyond.

Project Overview

What will the impacts of a 2ºC rise in global mean temperature be on our planet?

That’s the focus of a major EU funded research project, IMPACT2C, which is focusing on investigating potential impacts and economic costs within the European Union and smaller case studies of vulnerable areas around Africa, Bangladesh and the Maldives. With many political discussions focusing on climate mitigation to reduce global temperature rise, the project aims to understand what the benefits of climate mitigation will be, compared with higher levels of temperature rise. IMPACT2C is a 4 year (2011-2015) multi-disciplinary project formed of 29 partners from 17 countries who will look at impacts in different sectors, including energy supply, infrastructure, tourism, forestry, agriculture, ecosystems services, and health.

Extreme waves can result in flooding (Photo: RJ Nicholls)
Extreme waves on the Isle of Wight

The team at the University of Southampton (Professor Robert Nicholls and Dr Sally Brown) is focusing on the coastal aspects of climate change and the consequences for low-lying areas, such as more frequent flooding leading to changes in flood protection measures. The Southampton team, together with Global Climate Forum in Germany, is using a global impacts model called DIVA to assess the broad scale impacts of rising sea-levels around Europe, and the reduction in impacts associated with adaptation (e.g. hard engineering such as dike building) and climate mitigation measures. DIVA has been successfully used in a previous European Union funded studies, including CIRCE, PESETA and ClimateCost. Building upon these, the team hopes to provide a better quantification of impacts by using a wider range of climate scenarios as well as new data, including some generated by the UK’s Met Office.

Venice lagoon (Photo: S Brown)
Beaches can protect low-lying areas

They are also looking at cross-cutting issues found on the coast. Working with partners in the Bangladesh, Netherlands and Germany, the effects of sea-level rise and river flooding in Bangladesh is also being investigated. A major issue in Bangladesh is reliable and consistent data sources, so part of this work is providing sea-level rise scenarios and investigating ground subsidence. This work complements the Southampton led research of ESPA Deltas which is looking at ecosystem services and poverty alleviation in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta.

Case study of the Maldives
Project poster

Small islands are often epitomised as being vulnerable to climate change. Southampton University is leading a team, comprised of Global Climate Forum, HZG and the Ministry and Environment and Energy in the Maldives, to determine what assets are at risk. The country’s capital, Malé is not a typical tropical island as it is highly populated – in fact it is one of the most densely populated capital cities in the world! Therefore understanding population change and urban development is also very important as this can have a large influence on the impacts of sea-level rise. The Maldivian Ministry is collecting topographic and asset data to help improve modeling capacity. Dr Brown presented this work at the European Climate Change Adaptation Conference in Hamburg, Germany (March 2013). Interim and final project results will be presented to the European Commission to inform policy and decision making processes.

Related research groups

Energy and Climate Change
Coastal Engineering and Management

Staff

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