for INMR WEEKLY TECHNICAL REVIEW
The design of electrical systems is typically made looking at historic data in order to generate a prediction of likely service stresses on structures and components. These days, however, this approach is questionable. The Assessment Report of the International Protocol on Climate Change concluded that considerable climate change is now unavoidable, even if aggressive curbs on greenhouse gas emissions are put in place. There is still a great deal of uncertainly regarding the nature, magnitude and frequency of extreme weather as climate change unfolds. But many studies indicate increasing frequency and intensity of such events in most places, with obvious potential threat to energy infrastructure. For example, models predict substantial warming in temperature extremes by the end of this century, increased frequency of heavy precipitation or proportion of total rainfall from heavy falls, and increased maximum wind speeds from tropical cyclones, although not necessarily in all ocean basins.
The importance and timeliness of these issues is demonstrated by the special IPCC report, Managing the Risks of Extreme Events to Advance Climate Change Adaptation, published in 2012. Globally, tens of trillions of dollars will have to be invested in energy systems over the coming decades and many new installations will be exposed to significantly changing weather patterns over their multi-decade lifetimes. Use of present-day and historic weather and seasonal climate data is presently part of everyday risk management by utilities and regulators across the globe. However, in view of the above, integration of forward-looking information on changing climate when making design and operational decisions is rapidly becoming much more important.