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The Use of Probabilistic Climate Change Data to Future-proof Design Decisions in the Building Sector

PROMETHEUS was a multi-disciplinary EPSRC funded project. The main aims of the project were to:

  • Create a methodology for the creation of probabilistic future reference year weather data using UKCP09.
  • Create a set of future reference year weather data for free distribution and use by industry and academics.
  • Use physical models to identify the problems new buildings will face as a result of climate change.
  • Help the building sector adapt to the challenges of climate change. 

Based in the Centre for Energy and the Environment at the University of Exeter, PROMETHEUS was one of the Climate Change and Sustainable Futures projects and was a member of the ARCC (Adaptation & Resilience in a Changing Climate) co-ordinated research network.

The outputs were used for projects such as Montgomery Primary School (the first zero-carbon climate change ready school in the UK) and the Technology Strategy Board's 'Design for Future Climate' projects.

Climate Change

There is overwhelming evidence that the climate is changing as a direct result of human activity.

The work of John Tyndall showed that CO2 is almost opaque to thermal radiation. Increasing the concentration of this greenhouse gas and others in the atmosphere can only lead to warming of the climate system.

The IPCC's fourth assessment report shows significant warming over land for different socio-economic projections of CO2 emissions.

For the UK, the latest climate projections based upon these emissions scenarios, UKCP09, incorporates climate models from the Met Office and others. The projections are probabilistic in nature instead of deterministic so as to allow users to assess the level of risk. Using this probabilistic data we have created a set of probabilistic future weather files for many locations around the UK. Each of the weather files available on this site for a given location are equally likely to occur; the different percentiles represents a different position within the range of the uncertainty of the climate models. 

Project partners

We are proud to be partnered with the following organisations on the PROMETHEUS project: