Impact of extreme weather events in the Arctic on technological system, critical facilities and urban environment
Strategic research project of the University of Oulu
Focus institute: Kvantum
Faculty: Oulu Mining School
Rapid warming of the Arctic attracts more businesses and activities to the area. Particularly mining activities are expanding in Finland as well as in other Arctic countries due to increased need of minerals. Development of these activities can have a positive effect on local communities (for example, job creation, common infrastructure development). From the other hand, mining in Arctic climate conditions is a risky and challenging task and without proper planning and control can result in negative impacts on both the environment and local communities.
Many of the climate change risks are associated with the occurrence of extreme weather or climate events. They can be very unexpected and hazardous for buildings and roads in the urban environment and for such critical facilities as mining waste basins, dams, underground communication lines and pipes etc. The focus of most of the previous climate change and its impact studies was on single climate parameters such as temperature, precipitation, or related parameters however it is often a combination of several factors that creates the strongest impacts. Such non-expectable weather events in Arctic conditions, their impact and hazard have not been studied in a systematic way. That is why the main target of our project is to increase amount of knowledge about impact of climate variability and change, in particular, of extreme weather events on the environment and infrastructures and about their possible consequences for society, communities and individuals in the Arctic. This new knowledge, in turn, can be used in order to provide recommendations how the multihazard caused by such events can be mitigated. The project will be performed by a multidisciplinary research group that includes specialists in several branches of geosciences and technology from Oulu Mining School and Environmental and Chemical Engineering research unit of the Faculty of Technology. As case studies, we selected mining industry infrastructures (mining waste storage facilities) and urban infrastructures (roads and basements of buildings) located in northern Finland. The project will use up-to day observation data, modelling and inversion techniques.