Author Archives: Joseph Hagg

About Joseph Hagg

As Science Officer for Adaptation Scotland, I provide expert advice on climate change to a wide range of people and organisations in Scotland.

Climate Ready Homes: Preparing for the Future

I was invited to speak at the Scottish Federation of Housing Association (SFHA) Property Repairs and Asset Management Conference on 7 October 2014; and also contributed a feature article to the October issue of their magazine Housing Scotland – which I will reproduce below. It is great to see the social housing sector taking an interest in climate adaptation, alongside the many other challenges they are addressing – for example I shared a plenary session with Morton Duedahl who described how Denmark had setup their district heating network. 


Housing Scotland (Issue No. 105) 

Climate change is happening. The evidence is clear. It is a global problem, but the impact will be felt locally, here in Scotland. In our homes.

The impacts could be serious, exposing homes and their occupants to greater risks, unless action is taken. Although the challenge is significant, with some forethought, it should be possible to prepare our housing stock over the coming decades through ongoing maintenance, responsive repairs and refurbishment programmes. Continue reading

IPCC focus is on adaptation, can we transform?


This week the IPCC released “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability”, the second of three reports that will make up the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). It follows on from last year’s report that laid out the physical science of climate change – which made clear our prospects of facing global temperature increases of more than 2°C – and up to 5°C – over this century.

This new report investigates the consequences of climate change – looking at impacts and vulnerability across the world. However, there is a fundamental shift of emphasis, with a focus now on adaptation – especially given the serious, but uncertain, impacts that we are likely to face as our climate changes.

There is an interesting graphic in the new report, showing the ‘level of additional risk due to climate change’. It is striking that considerable additional risks occur at even the low end (~ 2°C) of expected warming – and these become increasingly widespread and severe if we end up at the higher end of temperature range. Continue reading

Creating visuals for a Climate Ready Scotland

Adaptation Scotland has a project underway to produce a set of visuals that show what an adapting climate ready Scotland could look like. To do this we brought people together to share their ideas and create a joint vision. This discussion was captured live with drawing by Dan and Chris from Scriberia, who specialise in ‘live scribing’. This was an absolutely fantastic experience and made for a wide ranging and dynamic workshop.

Some great new images are now being worked up, and we will be sharing these with you in the spring – in the meantime here is a short film we have put together from the workshop.

What next for the IPCC? How can we get action on climate change?

There is broad scientific consensus on climate change. What we need now is change – a transformation that responds to the scale of the challenge we actually face. Perhaps a ‘Campaign Climate’ that brings in the grassroots is a way forward?


This week the IPCC released its report ‘Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis’, the first in a series of reports that will make up the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). This brings the IPCC process up-to-date with advances in climate science since the release of the last report (AR4) in 2007. The evidence base continues to strengthen and it provides unequivocal evidence of our warming climate system (our news update covers a few key points)

So where to next? Well, this is just the start of the Fifth Assessment Report cycle – which culminates in the ‘Synthesis Report’ in October next year. So most immediately there’s still a long way to go in the AR5 cycle, including the next IPCC report on ‘Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’ which will be released at the end of March 2014. As the title suggests, this will be of particular relevance to those of us working in the adaptation community – it’s also an area that has seen considerable development since the last report in 2007. Continue reading

Hey Prezi! A few reflections on our presentations at Scotland’s Adaptation Conference

At Adaptation Scotland we have recently been experimenting with the use of Prezi as a substitute for the ubiquitous PowerPoint slideshow. At Scotland’s Adaptation Conference (Our Dynamic Earth, 9th September 2013) both of our presentations in the morning session used Prezi – and it seemed to work very well.

In fact, an unanticipated downside was that, on the day, I probably had as many conversations about Prezi as I did on climate change adaptation!

Joe Prezi  Anna Prezi

Click on the above to go directly to our Prezi’s from the conference – or see of all our Adaptation Scotland Prezi here

Continue reading

Making climate data visualisation… well, more visual

Accessing relevant climate information has always been a challenge – for a start there is so much of it out there! But a bigger problem is that it has been static in nature – and to explore a range of climate variables it is necessary to look through a book of outputs (e.g. like the still widely used Sniffer Handbook of Climate Trends).

Recent years have seen rapid advances in data visualisation tools – and these are often geared up for the internet, even allowing embedding within existing websites and documents. Alongside this the design options have come along in leaps and bounds – and it is now possible to create attractive and effective data visualisation with relative ease. The Guardian: Data Blog has a collection that is quite inspiring.


So what does this have to do with Adaptation Scotland and climate change? Well today we’ve released our first tool using Tableau Public – a tool for “Climate Trends for Scotland”. This uses data from the Met Office National Climate Information Centre to show Scottish climate trends over the last century – for a range of variables, regions, and averaging periods. Users of this tool can download images and interact with the underlying data (although we still recommend you go to the source if you want the data!). Usefully, Tableau Public allows anyone to embed a live version of this tool in their own website – and you are free to customise it if you want. Continue reading

ARCC energy projects – getting underway


Last Friday, Karen Miller and I attended the afternoon of an ARCC CN event showcasing some of the energy projects that have recently begun – conveniently held at the King’s Buildings, The University of Edinburgh.

Having previously seen updates from the energy projects in their very early stages – it was great to see the progress being made – and we will continue to keep an eye on these over their remaining years.

Continue reading