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Climate impacts on council services: Hampshire County Council

 Objectives: Hampshire County Council's Emergency Planning Unit has undertaken comprehensive mapping of Hampshire using UKCP09. In doing this, they have assessed the likely impact of climate change on the delivery of their services. Further to this work, they piloted the use of the Weather Generator and Threshold Detector. The objective was to produce an evidence based projection to anticipate future emergency planning service demands and determine if existing provisions will be adequate in a changing climate.

UKCP09 products used: The Weather Generator; The Threshold Detector.

How were UKCP09 products used?

  1. The Weather Generator was run for 4 adjacent grid squares to give good coverage over Winchester.
  1. The Threshold Detector was used to interrogate the Weather Generator output for the following threshold:

    Exactly 2 days with Tmax > 31°C and Tmin > 16°C (NHS heatwave threshold)
  1. The projected frequency of these events occurring in the future was compared to the historical data. For instance in heatwave events the frequency of events can be used to estimate the number of deaths and the emergency planning demands in the future.

Difficulties & limitations

  • Vast amount of data was produced by the Weather Generator; it was difficult to know how to use it.
  • Setting up the Weather Generator to run requires a good understanding of what is being selected.
  • The Threshold Detector is only useful for certain issues, e.g. heatwaves, which have well defined thresholds.

Lessons learned

  • Climatology and statistics are specialist areas of work not easily accessible to lay persons. The Weather Generator tool is complex and it is a difficult task putting its use and results into context.
  • A fair amount of expertise is required in order to interpret the Threshold Detector output.
  • Collecting the data is just part of the process, putting it into context and determining its impacts and consequences accurately is difficult.
  • UKCP09 represents the most up-to-date climate projections so it is a good opportunity to use them. However, they are complex to understand and assistance was required to confirm that we used them correctly.

How will the results be communicated to the target audience?

The target audience for the results is Hampshire County Council's Service Managers and UKCP09 Users. The results have been presented to the internal UKCP09 User Group.

Find out More

  • Contact details: Ben Heaton, Emergency Planning Unit, Hampshire County Council.