AWS Public Sector Blog
Accelerating climate resilience through asset-level risk assessment insights
Coastal Risk is a geospatial modeling, data analytics, and risk mitigation consulting company. Coastal Risk’s technology and services empower individuals, businesses, and governments around the world to accelerate climate resilience.
As part of the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative, we invited Albert J. Slap, President of Coastal Risk, to share how the organization is using Amazon Web Services (AWS) and big data to provide insights for property-specific, flood, natural hazard, and climate risk assessments.
For climate change adaptation and resilience, it is important to assess the risks associated with the impacts of climate change and then understand and take action to mitigate those risks.
Since 1980, the U.S. has experienced 258 weather and climate disasters where the overall damage costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (adjusted on the Consumer Price Index, as of January 2020). As floods become more frequent and costly and natural hazards and climate change impact physical building assets, business continuity, and asset values, big data and analytical technology can be used to create high-tech risk assessments and economic loss estimations. Until recently, the availability of detailed, location-specific risk information was limited. This situation changed with new technologies such as the B- Resilient™ program from Coastal Risk.
Coastal Risk provides individuals and organizations with more than just “bad news” about climate-related vulnerability and risk. Our five-step, B-Resilient™ process ends with actual, on-the-ground risk mitigation investment recommendations:
- Establish geospatial information and hazard vulnerability at the portfolio-level
- Establish site-specific, hazard vulnerability, and criticality of assets that score at high risk in step one
- Estimate damage/costs at the asset level
- Estimate adaptation costs at the asset level
- Recommend cost-effective risk mitigation solutions at the design-level
Using the cloud to power climate resilience
Using AWS, Coastal Risk produces automated, holistic risk assessment reports for any property in the U.S. in seconds. These reports include evaluations of five flood risks (pluvial, fluvial, storm surge, tidal, and tsunami) and four natural hazard risks (wind, tornado, wildfire, and earthquakes) with square-meter precision. The reports also forecast future vulnerability to climate changes, such as extreme heat and rainfall.
Coastal Risk’s big data stored on AWS and APIs include both public and proprietary sources. Coastal Risk scientists developed all of our algorithms. AWS allows us to offer each client its own secure, web-based report-ordering portal. Coastal Risk’s B-Resilient™ software provides the ability to invite, control, and manage users and report generation.
Coastal Risk uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and all data is stored and backed up in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) with encrypted and keyed document retrieval. Using Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), the system can queue hundreds of reports at a time as API calls becomes available. The system is built on a PostgreSQL database. We use maximum database security in a format widely used throughout the industry.
Using Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES), every time a customer sends a report request, the system automatically emails the customer when the report is ready. We use 256-bit SSL Secure Sockets Layer—the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link makes data passed between the web server and browsers private and integral. AWS allows Coastal Risk to process, store, aggregate, and translate climate and environmental datasets more quickly and easily into a site-specific report format that is meaningful, timely, and actionable for users.
Multi-billion-dollar commercial real estate companies, Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), private equity, hotels and resorts, mortgage lenders, and local governments use our data and analyses to identify risks at the asset level and to accelerate resilience efforts and supply-chain reliability. Our resilience accelerating business process has supported over $3B of commercial real estate transactions and loans in the past year.
By providing businesses, investors, and lenders with granular information, they can cost-effectively focus their attention on the assets that are at greatest risk and reduce costs, maintain market values, limit business interruptions, and increase profitability.
Learn more about the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative and check out the AWS Public Dataset Program.