Le but du projet est de définir comment utiliser au mieux les ressources matérielles et humaines disponibles afin de répondre aux multiples questions industrielles portant sur le changement climatique. Plus précisément, les objectifs concernent:


Expression of industrial company needs

Two types of needs have to be distinguished: the needs that are formulated by the actors and for which the work will mainly consist in gathering them (after having checked they can be considered as climate services); and the needs which are not explicitly formulated by the stakeholder but should still be identified as being relevant for a future climate services architecture. The SECIF project will deal with the formulated and non-formulated needs.

Three types of companies could be distinguished. Companies such as EDF which have developed some skills in climate sciences and are used to collaborate with research institutes. Sometimes, they have their own research department on the topic. The second type includes companies which are aware of the importance of climate change for the sustainable development of their business. But they do not know how to tackle the problem. In the last category, some companies consider that they are not concerned by climate change. Their awareness must be increased. We will also try to work with various actors from operational, technical and strategy departments. It will aim at spreading deeply climate information in the companies. To understand all these behaviours, different companies will be interviewed using qualitative/standard surveys. The discussions will rely on knowledge gathered in other projects, in several studies and in other countries. We will try to work with various actors from operational, technical and strategy departments. Multi-approach will aim at disseminating deeply climate information in the companies.

 Awareness and expression of needs also depend strongly on the cultural, political and social inclinations of all the implied stakeholders. In SECIF, we will attempt at an exploratory stage to analyse the importance of these various factors in the awareness of industrial partners. Sociological expertise will facilitate the understanding of some barriers and reticence of the industrial communities. We will analyse the specific case of industrial activity in urban environment. It has been selected because it represents well the high degree of interdisciplinarity of adaptation issues. Indeed it includes many actors and many business opportunities. Developing and maintaining an activity in this environment need to take into account different political issues which complicate the operation. Moreover, urban areas constitute the main “human” ecosystem at the global planetary scale and this trend will intensify. This approach enables to be close of the frame discussed in France on May 11th, during the “Adaptation-Grenelle” Workshop under Presidency of Jean Jouzel and moderated by Christian de Perthuis that declares adaptation as a great subject for town and regional planning.

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Identification of possible levels of answers:

The involvement of industrial partners depends on their degree of interest in the vulnerability and adaptation topics. This project will offer the possibility to:

  •  identify vulnerabilities and opportunities due to climate change,
  • make sensitivity analysis of their activity to meteorological factors,
  • improve the tools they use to manage, operate, and forecast their business in including climate projection.

To reach these objectives, industrial partners have to learn about the climate system, its complexity, and the difficulties to represent it numerically. Then, they could best express and specify their request depending on the strengths and weaknesses of the climate models. This work also aims at helping companies to reconsider their expectation with regard to the uncertainty sources associated to climate studies. A preliminary phase devoted to learn about analysis tools and data is needed before starting adaptation planning.

We will illustrate this confrontation between needs and answers using 4 case studies. All the topics are related to the energy and water sectors (energy supplying, sewer systems, desalination plants, and renewable energy) for which vulnerability is strong and already admitted. These sectors are indeed directly concerned by the consequences of climate change: cooling and heating demand is strongly connected to temperature (Baxter, 1992). INVULNERABLE results have also shown the importance of temperature variability for energy supplying; water sector depends on the water resource, i.e. on precipitation amount, droughts but also on intense rainfall events leading to floods. Moreover, these two sectors involve expensive and long-term (30 to 50 years, sometimes more) investments, and are strongly interested by anticipating climate change (Paskal, 2009). Thus it is possible to implement more complex analysis in order to identify ins and outs of the collaboration. Each case study involves different stages of analyses (table 1):

1) Climate hazard identification consists in an analysis of the vulnerable factors related to meteorological and climate events

2) Links to other hazard consists in making inventories of the other hazard that can have an impact of the sector/activity (market price, geopolitic context, plants structure…)

3) Characterisation of hazards (only for climate ones) will give a detailed description of hazards identified in 1 (intensity, persistence, geographical extension…). The characterisation could be based on the analysis of special events and companies know-how.

4) vulnerability assessment needs to compare sectorial data (from companies archives) and climate data series in order to assess the real impact of the hazards determine in the previous step. Vulnerability threshold and indicators will be specified during this step.

5) Hazard probability assessment consists in analysing the occurrence of hazards.

6) Crossing probability and vulnerability related to an event results in risk assessment. 


Case study Climate hazard identification Other hazars  Characteri-sation of hazards       Vulnerability assessment   Hazard probability assessment    Risk Study
Energy demand & supplying To be completed   To be completed If reachable    
Sewer systems Already done         If reachable
Desalination       If reachable    
Renewable Energy Already done          

Table 1: Analysis objectives of the cases studies

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Reliability of climate products

To insure the reliability of the given information, climatologists must provide data expertise and user guidelines. Strengths and weaknesses of the data and tools should be specified. One goal of the project is to assess the confidence level associated to the model results and the limits of the exercise dedicated to the industrial vulnerability aspects. This question will be addressed using several concrete examples referring to energy supply, wastewater treatment plants, desalination plants and renewable energy.

Climatologists should also support scientific monitoring in order to always provide the state-of-the-art information. Climatologists must continually track the development of new tools (simulations, methods, projects…). In particular, the climate modelling groups are involved at the international level in the production of a set of climate projections to infer climate changes under different economic scenarios. These experiments are coordinated by the Couple model intercomparison Project (Meehl et al., 2007) under the umbrella of the WCRP/WGCM working groups. New simulations are now prepared as part of CMIP-5 for the next IPCC assessment (Taylor et al. 2009). As part of this new set of simulations some of the groups will provide for the first time decadal predictions. The level of predictability at the decadal scale and the reliability of these simulations still need to be assessed. In addition, regional simulations will be coordinated through the CORDEX initiative (http://wcrp.ipsl.jussieu.fr/SF_RCD_CORDEX.html). It becomes difficult for non-specialists to decide which simulations are more appropriate for a given study and on which basics. Also these simulations are still research objects and misleading use can be done using the results as black boxes. In addition several downscaling methods can be used, and it is important to make sure they are well adapted to the different cases.  The research activity on these simulations will provide guidance on: 

  • Differences and improvements between the CMIP-3 and CMIP-5 set of simulations
  • Benefits from new downscaling methods (spatial and temporal ones)
  • Interests and reliability of the first decadal forecasts compared to the centennial projections. 
  • Uncertainties evaluation using a selection of models rather than all available simulations.
  • Weaknesses and strengths of different uncertainty graphical display adapted to the industrial partners expectations.

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Role of actors

Assessing vulnerability or risk consists in translating operational information into a physical one. The difficulty arises from the various industrial activities and the large number of parameters (climatic and non-climatic ones) that could affect the functioning of a company. The approach, and specifically scientific aspects, must be adapted to each new request. One issue is to know if it is possible to identify common items in this diversity in order to help the co-operation with companies.

The project will determine if the partnership with companies should be a bilateral collaboration for each specific demand, or if studies have a more general interest. In the second case, it will be useful to make available some recurrent indicators with their analysis, their future projection and their uncertainty. 

It will also determine how the modelling groups must organize themselves to provide the different kinds of services expected by industrial partners:

  • simple « food for thoughts » ;
  • use of data or analysis methods for specific applications;
  • basic research studies required to answer very specific issue.

Moreover, vulnerability questions involve in most cases several disciplines such as hydrology, economics, technical know-how, etc. Multi disciplinary and multi-actor capabilities will be a key factor of the adaptation research. Defining the good partnership and the role of each partner is challenging. These questions will be analysed based on the 4 case studies defined above. Each case study presents very specific features in terms of partnership, actor roles and objectives in order to maximise the investigation range as described in section 3.

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