WeatherShift™: accessing climate change predictions

When designing infrastructure and buildings for the long term, in many climate zones it is no longer reasonable to only look to weather statistics and storm return periods derived from historical weather records without taking account of projected climate change effects. Improved access to locally-focused climate predictions can enable engineers and planners to better ensure that buildings and infrastructure are designed to accommodate anticipated changes in climate.

To that end, Arup in partnership with Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) and Argos Analytics has developed WeatherShift™, an online tool that generates predicted future climate weather data from climate simulations based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5).

WeatherShift™ is an interactive online tool that is publicly accessible at www.weathershift.com. It makes use of data projections from several global climate models used in IPCC AR5 to construct predicted distributions of weather parameters for a typical year in future time periods at a geographical location specified by the user.

During the rest of this century, the buildings and infrastructure assets that are currently being built are predicted to experience weather patterns that differ, potentially significantly, from the present climate and from past climate records.

The climate data and climate projections that accompanied publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5) were not necessarily configured or intended for direct use by the engineers and developers of building and infrastructure projects; although in the public domain, the IPCC AR5 data sets are not readily accessible to many climate stakeholders.

The WeatherShift™ tool makes the projected climate change data sets accessible. In particular, the use of visualisations of climate analyses based on future climate scenarios can help clients and project design teams understand the impact on their design so that better informed decisions can be taken.




The website www.weathershift.com can be used by engineers, architects, planners and consultants for the assessment of projections of future climate conditions at more than 250 cities around the world, encompassing conditions in the present-day, mid-21st century and late-21st century time periods.

Present-day weather profiles are ‘shifted’ to the future based on projections derived from numerous global climate models used in IPCC AR5, for various scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions. The output can be applied in many ways, including risk-based resiliency planning of buildings and infrastructure and minimisation of life-cycle costs.  Using the future-shifted weather data, building and infrastructure designs and urban masterplans can be tested against the predicted future climates.

The toolset also includes the ability to generate projected rainfall characteristics, as rainfall intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) curves, that reflect changes in the future climate. This can help infrastructure asset owners better manage the risk of flooding and produce better informed long-term water management and drainage strategies.

Management and mitigation of the vulnerabilities of the urban environment to climate change can be supported and facilitated by having better access to quantitative projections of future climate conditions.

WeatherShift™ is an easy-to-use tool that provides ready access to quantitative location-specific projections that can enable cities and infrastructure to be designed and managed taking account of future weather trends associated with climate change. The WeatherShift™ tool can help asset owners make better informed investment decisions during the early phases of masterplanning and infrastructure projects and help minimise risks emerging from increased operational costs.