Biophysical and Economic Impacts of Hydroclimatic Extremes
This project is led by the Environmental Change Institute at University of Oxford in partnership with ACDI Director Prof Mark New, under his AXA Chair in African Climate Risk. This research brings together cutting-edge climate change attribution and impacts science to develop methods that can apportion the socio-economic costs of climate change between local factors that affect sensitivity to climate change and global-scale human forcing of climate that changes the risk of climate extremes. The methods will be developed and tested for drought and flood impacts in South Africa, but results will be applicable to a wider range of climate change loss and damage situations across the world.
Through this project, researchers will undertake joint attribution of human influence on both climate and system exposure, within the context of drought and flood. Research will be based in two river catchments in South Africa, the Berg in the Western Cape and Umgeni in Kwa-Zulu Natal; both have good climate, hydrological, biophysical and socio-economic data. South Africa is a good case for exploring loss and damage in a developing country context, as it faces similar climate risks and vulnerabilities to other sub-Saharan countries.
The project has the following specific objectives:
Attribute human influence on the risk of hydrologically significant (drought and flood) rainfall extremes.
Attribute human influence on catchment sensitivity to hydrologically significant rainfall extremes.
Jointly attribute the relative contribution of (1) and (2) on changing risk of significant droughts and floods.
Estimate the economic damage of drought and flood that can be attributed to human influence on climate and catchment sensitivity.
Estimate the social and economic benefits of adaptations to reduce catchment sensitivity.