Six Open-Source Tools To Manage Climate Risk
Six Open-Source Tools To Manage Climate Risk
As global temperatures rise, leaders will be on the lookout for robust tools that can assess chronic and acute physical climate risks. While physical climate data are freely available from a range of institutions around the world, these data are often at too coarse a resolution or not in a usable format. In most instances, users must perform additional processing or analyses on the data for their specific projects, which can take significant computing power. These additional analyses requires particular expertise to not only carry out the work, but also to understand the inherent limitations and assumptions made, so that these can be incorporated into the finalized recommendations. Yet, a struggle to source climate change expertise is a barrier for many firms assessing climate risk (see Verdantix Strategic Focus: Mind The Climate Skills Gap).
As a result of these challenges, many private and public sector users turn to consultancies or physical climate data providers to help them assess their climate risk. But, for some users, utilizing services from consultancies or data providers may not be feasible. Open-source climate risk tools have emerged as a solution, offering accessibility and adaptability that can drive more effective climate risk management across geographies through wider adoption.
Some of the open-source tools that have been developed or are in development to help users assess climate risks are:
1. OS-Climate: The Linux Foundation’s OS-Climate provides open-source data and software for assessing climate risk including Physical Risk & Resilience (led by BNP Paribas), Portfolio Alignment (led by Allianz) and Transition Analysis (led by Airbus) tools. These tools allow financial institutions to assess and manage climate risks, as well as making investment decisions that work towards their net zero ambitions.
2. CLIMADA and CLIMADA-App: Developed by ETH Zürich, CLIMADA uses probabilistic modelling of different scenarios to explore hazards, exposure and vulnerability, as well as various adaption measures to assess impacts and produce cost-benefit analyses in a site-specific context. CLIMADA is developed in Python and available via GitHub. The European Insurance and Occupational Pension Authority (EIOPA) built the CLIMADA-App, which provides a user interface for those not skilled in Python.
3. EVE (Earth Visualization Engines): Though not yet deployed, a summit was held in Berlin in July ahead of COP28 to discuss the development of Earth Visualization Engines. Through global governance, EVE hopes to establish 3-5 international centres of excellence, where researchers aim to develop multi-decadal global climate projections at the km scale. EVE also aims to grant software access to users and infrastructure-as-a-service, enabling users to develop their own climate scenarios.
4. Open-source model for tropical cyclone risk: In a study published by Baldwin et al. in 2023, the authors develop a tropical cyclone risk model for the Philippines that can be modified for other countries. The model can be used for emergency planning purposes or climate change scenarios using publicly available data, helping countries understand the socio-economic impact of tropical cyclones.
5. Humanitarian OpenStreetMap: While not exclusively a climate risk tool, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team works in the adjacent disaster response and risk assessment space. Communities can update maps in real time to reflect changing conditions during weather-related events, which are expected to increase in severity and frequency in the future.
6. Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE): CAKE is an open-source platform that offers a variety of resources, case studies and tools for assessing climate risk and planning climate adaptation. It helps communities and organizations make informed decisions to reduce climate risks and learn how others have gone about navigating these risks.
While these tools allow anyone to assess their findings on climate-related risks, it is best practice to bring in a climate expert to advise users on how to best apply the information to mitigate risk. It should also be noted that some of these tools have restrictions for commercial use, and users should check that they are complying with licensing requirements.
Open-source climate risk tools fill a much-needed void in the climate risk landscape and are of great benefit to users and developers in the private and public sector. Developers and experts can collaborate to continuously update and refine these tools, ensuring they remain relevant in the face of evolving climate challenges. Collaboration over open-source climate risks tools can lead to accelerated tool development across sectors, leading to more effective risk mitigation strategies. This is a net benefit to all, as more resilient communities lead to fewer economic and social disruptions that can ripple across geographies and industries.