Climate Change

Incorporating climate change at every scale

BGC provides a comprehensive suite of tools and services to help our clients understand, plan for, and work in a changing climate. Our expertise in applied earth sciences allows us to evaluate and project climate change impacts in hydrological and geological systems. Through our climatologists and close collaboration with climate modelling researchers, we provide answers and solutions when the past is no longer indicative of the future, and where traditional analytical methods need to be augmented with climate change scenarios. BGC bridges the gap between climate model projections and engineering solutions.

We evaluate the potential effects of climate change by completing geohazard risk assessments, adaptation, and mitigation options analyses to allow our clients to proactively manage their assets. Considering climate change in all our projects and integrating it at appropriate levels, helps us manage our clients’ risks effectively and sustainably and prepare them for the future. We also provide support for corporate sustainability reporting and annual financial statements. BGC actively monitors changes in reporting requirements for institutional lenders and insurance agencies to provide up-to-date information to our clients.

BGC’s climate expertise in meteorological instrumentation, observational and model data analysis, climate policy, and climate risk assessment is unparalleled in the engineering field. We integrate this expertise with our geotechnical proficiency in geohazards in all environments including mountains, glaciers, rivers, communities, and coastlines. This unique approach to geological engineering enables us to provide sound mitigative solutions that optimize climate resilience and decrease exposure to legal claims and regulatory reprimands. This approach results in reduced societal risk, improved social congruence, and fostering community and stakeholder relationships while satisfying lenders’ and governments’ needs for climate-change-related sustainability.

Climate Data Expertise

BGC’s approach to providing innovative solutions comes from our strong basis in earth and data sciences, and tackling the potential impacts of climate change is no different. We can provide our clients with a solid foundation of understanding and access to climate and meteorological data, including both historical and projected climate data. BGC also applies our broader instrumentation expertise to climate data, providing support for on-site climate monitoring or design of early warning systems. BGC’s climate experts have cumulatively decades of experience in translating climate data to more accessible formats for applications such as engineering design inputs, risk assessments, decision matrices or other cost-benefit analyses, and analysis in support of litigation.

Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA)

BGC utilizes a variety of climate observation, visualization, and projection tools for a geomorphologic-focused Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA). BGC assesses and presents asset risk of direct and indirect losses, both individually and sequentially

 

Our assessment methods can be embedded in geospatial web applications (e.g., CambioTM) or in augmented reality tools (e.g., Clirio Apps) for visual interpretation of complex information. This dynamic visualization approach facilitates enhanced analysis and communication of complex information that is challenging to convey with static maps and drawings.

 

In keeping with requirements that an assessment be undertaken to determine how federally funded projects will contribute to or reduce carbon emissions, including carbon capture and sequestration, BGC’s CCRA can also include a sustainability assessment that provides information that may aid in reducing the project’s carbon footprint.

Geohazard Assessment & Climate Change

Most geohazards are affected by weather conditions, such as the timing, intensity, duration, or frequency of rainfall. Changes in the climate can affect these factors, making geohazards such as flash flooding or post-wildfire landslides more likely. For example, glacial thinning and eventual loss of ice cover and/or snow cover can lead to a decrease in stream flows below a threshold required for industrial or agricultural water use, lesser flow volumes, or a change in hydrographs and thus lead to production losses.

Together with our clients, BGC assesses the likely consequences for each geohazard and develops a CCRA matrix. Project risks can be prioritized following the completion of a CCRA and implementation of risk reduction measures that are aimed to adapt, mitigate and increase the resiliency of individual system components.

The benefits of these steps include increased project safety and a lower risk of unexpected losses resulting from climate change-driven events. Such outcomes are attractive to lenders, regulators, investors, nearby communities, and the public.

Considering Climate Change in Hydrology

BGC uses our combined expertise in both climate science and hydrology to characterize the impacts of climate change on project work. Historical records alone can no longer be used to inform the future. Our work in flood hazards includes providing public and private sector clients with climate-adjusted floodplain maps at both regional and local scales. BGC has produced climate-adjusted precipitation Intensity-Duration-Frequency curves and climate-adjusted Flood Frequency-Magnitude relationships to inform engineering design. These examples show how BGC translates abstract climate data into practical knowledge to inform client decision-making.

Providing Solutions to Climate Change Risks

Beyond identifying and quantifying changes in climate and the risks they pose, BGC can design practical and cost-efficient solutions to mitigate these risks. This includes quantifying uncertainties produced by data scarcity and model resolution, and accounting for likely future climate conditions in design specifications.

Assets that are at risk from debris flows triggered by severe weather events, for example, could be at increased risk of such hazards under future climate conditions. A CCRA can identify and quantify such changes and, if appropriate, those changes can be factored into asset redesign or design of an adaptive debris flow diversion structure that can be modified as future conditions demand.

The CCRA identifies critical system components that can be prioritized for monitoring. The monitoring would be designed to fill data gaps to support the design and implementation of any adaptation or mitigation measure and would subsequently monitor site conditions. Key uncertainties can be reduced with the development of the CCRA, which supports informed decisions. BGC provides options for engineered structural protection tailored to suit expected hazards and account for projected changes in the hazard due to climate change.

Climate Change Mitigation

BGC is involved with various clients and research groups to tackle climate change on a broader scale. Our expertise in geological and hydrological science and engineering can be applied to the development of permanent carbon sequestration within geologic formations. We’ve partnered with researchers for initiatives to store carbon within mining or transportation infrastructure. BGC also applies our overall geological engineering expertise to non-emitting energy projects located in a variety of challenging terrain and environments.

Related Projects

Key Contacts

Lukas Arenson

Lukas Arenson

Principal Geotechnical Engineer, Cryology Team Lead

Patrick Grover

Patrick Grover

Principal Hydrotechnical Engineer

Kathryn Franklin

Kathryn Franklin

Senior Geological Engineer

Kate Lunney

Kate Lunney

Geological Engineer

Marc Olivier Trottier

Marc Olivier Trottier

Water Resources Engineer

Melissa Hairabedian

Melissa Hairabedian

Senior Hydrologist, Climate Change Team Lead

Julio Portocarrero

Julio Portocarrero

Senior Hydrotechnical Engineer

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