Understanding and Assessing Impacts
In the identification of impacts and risks, climate parameters were obtained through iterative discussions with the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC). The selected timeframe by the NRGH team for climate risk and vulnerability analysis was projected out to the year 2050. To provide conservative estimates (high-estimates) in climate projections, an Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) of 8.5 W·m-2 was assumed for all climate parameters. The risk scores were provided by PCIC from a combination of professional judgment and statistical evaluation of climate model projections. A facilitated workshop was also organized to identify the severity scores for each infrastructure component and climate parameter interaction. Workshop participants included Island Health Facilities, Maintenance, and Operation Staff (FMO), Facilities and Planning Managers, Clinical Practitioners, Clinical Operations Managers, a member of PCIC, and the consulting team. The purpose was to achieve a consensus-based severity score that aggregates the professional experience of the consulting team with the inservice performance knowledge of the systems of FMO staff and Island Health facilities managers.
The assessment found that the three climate parameters that are responsible for most of the medium and high-risk interactions are heat waves, humidity, and water shortages. Other climate parameters that were considered included: contaminated water, strong winds, sea level rise, flooding, among others. The assessment summarized risks of the interaction between the infrastructure components and climate parameters. For example:
- Mechanical – The main effects on the mechanical systems are caused by heat waves and high humidity conditions. The cooling system seems most sensitive to effects of heat waves, whereas the critical air and other ventilation systems are susceptible to air pollution (forest fires) and high humidity.
- Electrical – Overheating of the elevator controllers and main distribution transformer during heat waves may pose some issues. Strong winds and storms may also damage BC Hydro supply. Premature failure of the electrical systems due to higher outdoor humidity is a lesser concern.
Interactions were also considered for civil services, water, the building enclosure, and structural elements.