From Storm Agnes to Henk, there have already been eight named storms between September and early January.
According to the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, this is the most the UK has witnessed since the Met Office’s storm naming scheme started in 2015.
The storms have caused widespread flooding, landslides and damage to critical infrastructure, with the south of England and Wales worst affected. The intensity of these events is expected to increase due to anthropogenic climate change, with more extreme weather on the horizon.
In its 2023 annual climate summary, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service confirmed that 2023 had replaced 2016 as the warmest year in “global temperature data records going back to 1850”, with 2024 expected to exceed it. According to the Met Office, 2023 is provisionally the second warmest year on record for the UK, with 2022 being the warmest so far.
Ground engineering consultants and contractors are at the forefront of devising solutions for the built and natural environments, as well as for ageing infrastructure, to make them resilient in the face of more extreme weather.
As highlighted by International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure executive director Savina Carluccio at the 2023 BGA Geo-Resilience conference, there is an urgency “for implementing climate resilience and adaptation measures, alongside climate mitigation”.
Engineers must thus design with sustainability and resilience in mind. This is reflected in GE’s very first Early Careers Challenge (ECC), which highlighted the importance of sustainability in ground engineering. The winning entry is presented in GE’s January/February 2024 edition.
We will also continue these discussions at the second GE Sustainability conference, which returns on 18 September. Also, keep an eye out for the launch of the 2024 ECC.