The UPC participates in a €25-million European project to improve the response to climate change-related emergencies

Image of the A4Cat platform, developed under the ANYWHERE project by Hyds and implemented by the Civil Protection Service of the Government of Catalonia.

Image of the A4Cat platform, developed under the ANYWHERE project by Hyds and implemented by the Civil Protection Service of the Government of Catalonia.

The UPC’s Centre of Applied Research in Hydrometeorology participates in the European project RESIST, which aims to improve preparedness for weather emergencies and thus increase resilience to climate change. RESIST receives EU funding under the Horizon programme.

Mar 09, 2023

Catalonia is one of 12 regions selected by the European Commission to participate in a 25-million-euro European project to improve preparedness for serious climate change-related emergencies. Launched within the Horizon Europe Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change, RESIST - Regions for climate change resilience through Innovation, Science and Technology aims to improve the detection of extreme events such as floods, heatwaves and wildfire risk, and to make society and local councils better prepared.

The project started in January and will run for five years. The formal launch of the project took place in the Portuguese city of Coimbra during the inaugural partner meeting, in which the first work steps were defined.

Its implementation in Catalonia will receive 2.5 million euros funding through the project partners: the Directorate General for Civil Protection of the Government of Catalonia, the Centre of Applied Research in Hydrometeorology (CRAHI) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC), the CARENET research group of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), the UPC spin-off Hyds and the city councils of Terrassa and Blanes. The project is supported by ACCIÓ, the Government of Catalonia’s agency for business competitiveness.

This European initiative involves four large-scale demonstrator regions, located in Catalonia, Finland, Denmark and Portugal. In Catalonia it will study how to detect the effects of weather hazards further in advance, specially on a city level and with the necessary adaptations to different territorial realities considering each city’s peculiarities. It will focus on the most vulnerable activities, such as tourism—campsites in particular. Real-time analysis of the impact of risk events will allow new regional measures, policy instruments and technological solutions to be developed.

These solutions should help to increase ecological investment levels, reduce natural hazard-related economic losses—e.g. from flooding—and minimise the climate protection gap. This will also foster public participation in building greater resilience to these environmental disruptions and boost the ability of local councils to deal with these climate change-related events.

Catalonia is one of 12 regions participating in this European project, which account for 22 million people. The conclusions drawn from the Catalonia demonstrator will be shared with the Italian region of Puglia and Portugal’s Baixo Alentejo, particularly the problems associated with floods, heatwaves and wildfires.

A step forward in improving emergency management
RESIST gives continuity to the improvements achieved by the European project ANYWHERE and seeks to transfer the achievements of the latter to local councils and vulnerable activities. Coordinated by the UPC’s CRAHI, it has allowed the company Hyds to develop a tool that is now operational and used by the Directorate General for Civil Protection, and that has substantially improved the management of climate change-related weather risk emergencies, particularly flooding. The tool is able to detect extreme flooding events in real time two hours in advance of their impact.

To ensure this adaptation to local council level, the UPC’s CRAHI and Hyds will be partnering with the city councils of Terrassa and Blanes, which are actively involved in the search for solutions for adapting to climate change and the flood-related problems in their cities. As an added value, the UOC’s CARENET research group will incorporate the social perception of risk for the purpose of ensuring greater self-protection capacity for concerned towns and cities.

Other European projects to adapt emergency management to climate change
Catalonia also participates in other European projects associated with adapting emergency responses and management to climate change under the Horizon Europe Missions. EU funding of 20 million euros has been obtained for the CLIMAAX project, in which the Directorate General for Civil Protection of the Government of Catalonia and the UPC’s CRAHI participate.

Expected to run for four years, the project kicked off with an initial partner meeting in Delft (Netherlands) on 23 and 24 January. It focuses on adaptation to climate change through regional-level climate risk assessment, working on a local scale with established pan-European reference data and scenarios.

CLIMAAX project will work on this interface with a view to provide analytical and practical support to regions and communities by offering a standardised climate risk assessment framework and tools to access data and models. Five demonstrator regions in Europe have been chosen to act as implementation testbeds, amongst them Catalonia. Assessment of the climate risks helps to define scenarios for adapting civil protection plans that establish responses to emergencies, in this case climate change-related risks.