Welcome to the Walker Update, bringing you up to speed with the latest developments from the Walker Institute and the wider climate science field.

Tackling climate risks in the historic environment. Partnering with Historic England, we held a residential roundtable from 19-20 May focusing on ‘Cultural Heritage: Climate Hazards, Risks and Adaptation’ at the Greenlands campus, Henley Business School.  Alongside the National Trust, the Global Climate Heritage Network, DEFRA, and colleagues from across the University (from SAGES and SMPCS), we worked together on developing a methodological framework to bridge the gap between climate change and context-specific impacts for historic environments. The approach harnesses lessons learned from our research in the global south and aligns with our work as one of the 8 regional climate risk hubs under the new WCRP Lighthouse Activity, “My Climate Risk”.  Vice Chancellor, Professor Robert Van de Noort addressed the roundtable and contributed his own archaeological expertise. A paper on the process is in development, and follow up discussions have been tabled with Historic England and The National Trust. We will keep you posted as this important work develops.

UNDRR’s Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GP2022) 7th Session, Bali, Indonesia, 23-28 May.  Walker Business Development Director, Pen Cabot, attended the GPDRR to meet with stakeholders and partners from across the world. The GPDRR convenes to address multi-hazard early warning systems (MHEWS) and early action, with the 2022 session focusing on, ‘From Risk to Resilience: Towards Sustainable Development for All in a COVID-19 Transformed World’. Having experienced our interactive theatre (see https://walker.ac.uk/about-walker/news-events/connecting-climate-scientists-and-social-protection-professionals-aspire-training-in-senegal/), the WMO invited us to host a session at the GP2022, as a means to open dialogue around the challenges stakeholders are experiencing in implementing MHEWS at scale. With a diverse group of ‘Spect-Actors’ from around the world, the theatre inspired lively discussion with the audience, who suggested changes to the narrative and steered the plot in a new direction while the performance was taking place. More on the UNDRR event here.

Walker Business Director, Pen Cabot presenting at the UNDRR Global Platform for Risk Reduction, May 2022

Community led approaches to flood disaster risk reduction. On our blog here, Walker/SAGES PhD Researcher Faith Mitheu explains our work on community-led approaches to improve early warning systems and anticipatory actions to support vulnerable communities in data scarce regions. In solidarity with the United Nations recent declaration of ensuring all people are protected by Early Warning Systems (EWS), our research is promoting community-led approaches towards flood disaster risk reduction by putting at-risk communities at the centre of the design and implementation process towards a more locally-targeted EWS.

European Geosciences Union (EGU), Vienna, 23-27 May Over 7000 delegates met in Vienna at the first in person EGU conference since the Covid Pandemic to share the latest research on all topics concerning the Earth, the atmosphere and the oceans.  Many UoR researchers participated. Walker Associate Cathie Wells who has been working with Microsoft alongside us presented her research on reducing aviation emissions.  Two Walker PhD students also presented their research: Chloe Brimicombe on software for heat stress and thermal comfort, and Faith Mitheu on community-led approaches to improving early warning systems and preparedness for flood risk (see above). A key new section of the energy, resources and environment part of the conference was entitled ‘changes in energy and material demands as drivers, outcomes and solutions of the climate and environmental crisis.’ This session linked researchers from diverse scientific backgrounds to focus on interdisciplinary studies.

What happened across the world this week?
Please click on this link to access the Global Hazards Weekly Bulletin produced by Prof Virginia Murray and her team at PHE, and archived by Prof Richard Allan. It contains a weekly summary of global hazards, including recent developments of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The previous bulletin can be found here.

All the best!

The Walker Institute Team