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Assessing Leeds' current climate vulnerability

Objectives: Leeds City Council prepared this mock case study - based on dummy data - to assess Leeds's current vulnerability to climate impacts and develop an adaptation plan for future climate change that draws on past experience about vulnerable areas.

How they used UKCP09 dummy data

1. It was assumed that any winter month with wet soil conditions, followed by 50 mm of rainfall in one day might lead to fluvial flooding in the catchment.

2. 100 runs of the Weather Generator were completed for both the baseline and future time periods.

3. The Threshold Detector was used to determine both the frequency of the known threshold (as outlined in Step 1) being exceeded in the baseline and how it may change in the future data. 

Next steps

From the information gained for the Threshold Detector analysis, a cost-benefit risk assessment could be undertaken, possibly using the internal city council risk assessment approaches used for developing the community risk register.

The  Adaptation Wizard Climate UK  could also be used to develop an adaptation strategy.

It would be beneficial to undertake a 'roadshow' in order to educate other groups of services within the Leeds City Council on how to conduct their own risk assessment.

Lessons learned

If observed daily rainfall data had been available, the baseline weather generator run could have been compared with the observed climate data sets to see how well the observed baseline compares with the modelled Weather Generator baseline. There should not be a big difference as the Weather Generator is based on the observed data sets.

The Threshold Detector cannot be used as a substitute for a detailed rainfall-runoff model (as previously thought). However, it will provide complimentary information for performing a risk assessment.

It would have been useful to specify a preceding accumulated winter monthly rainfall threshold value, to ensure wet soil conditions (e.g. more than 100 mm). This example had to assume that that there would be wet soil conditions during winter months.

Find out more

  • Contact details: David Cherry, Development Department, Leeds City Council