Impacts of Extreme Weather and Climate Change on Critical Infrastructure
Critical infrastructure can include wastewater treatment plants, power stations, transportation networks, hospitals, etc. Connecticut’s recent history has demonstrated that critical infrastructure of all types can be extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and severe weather. For instance, back-to-back storms in 2011 each caused over 700,000 power outages across the state (Hurricane Irene and Winter Storm Alfred). Such disruptions to critical services can severely impact Connecticut’s residents and businesses.
CIRCA and Critical Infrastructure
CIRCA’s mission is to help Connecticut’s towns and cities be more resilient to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather. In order to be more resilient, critical infrastructure within a municipality must be protected. CIRCA helps communities identify critical infrastructure that is at risk, measures the vulnerability, and identifies ways to reduce that vulnerability. In order to do so, CIRCA researchers are making climate change predictions for Connecticut. Projects relating to calculating current and future flood risk from precipitation changes under climate change, modeling sea level rise and storm surge inundation, and others are part of the groundbreaking in-state science developed at CIRCA.
CIRCA Research Projects
CIRCA’s current research projects in the area of critical infrastructure are listed below.
The Real‐time Flood Prediction and Vulnerability Analysis of Connecticut’s Inland River Network project provides a hydrology model for Connecticut’s rivers and applies this model to determine flood vulnerabilities in current and future climate scenarios.
The Jarvis Creek Sea Level and Flooding Variability study in Branford, CT determined how downstream flood prevention activities affect areas upstream in terms of flooding frequency. The Institute provided a report.pdf with policy directions for the DEEP Office of Long Sound Programs for future consideration of similar upstream impacts.
Municipal Resilience Planning Assistance for Sea Level Rise, Coastal Flooding, Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure, & Policy
The Municipal Resilience Planning Assistance for Sea Level Rise, Coastal Flooding, Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure, and Policy project provides information for wastewater system vulnerability assessments, combined river and coastal flooding for pilot sites, and policy options for priority resilience projects for towns in the Sandy-impacted counties.
The Advancing High Resolution Coastal Forecasting and Living Shorelines Approaches in the Northeast advances northeast regional forecasting for inundation from storms under future sea level rise scenarios and identifies policy barriers and potential solutions for the use of living shorelines in the northeast.