The Institute of Climate and Civil Systems (iCliCS) was formed in 2010 with the primary objective of bringing together a leading group of interdisciplinary researchers to focus on the effects of climate change on civil systems. The iCliCS goal is to develop analysis methods that will allow public officials to make informed decisions regarding the vulnerability of civil infrastructure systems to climate change. The concept behind this collaboration is that climate change requires innovative solutions that cross traditional discipline boundaries. Climate change is a global challenge that affects all regions and all economic levels. Climate change will affect all aspects of life. At the core of this impact is the effect on civil systems. Civil systems are multi-faceted and integrated into every area of life, but often are not considered as an integrated group. Civil systems are the foundation on which modern society operates. From transportation and water systems to power and communication systems, civil infrastructure is the foundation on which daily activities are dependent.

The iCliCS group is approaching the study of climate change impact on civil systems from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Engineering, economics, climate science, and public policy are the building blocks on which iCliCS is developing innovative approaches to studying this issue. These building blocks drive every facet of the individual communities, countries and global community in which we live. From agricultural production to transportation and energy, these systems drive our ability to develop our society.

How is iCliCS accomplishing its ambitious goal? The first step has been to recognize that no single area of expertise can solve this issue. Understanding this basis, the iCliCS group is bringing together diverse areas of information and knowledge to create a model of the future and the potential changes that are occurring to infrastructure. ICliCS researchers are synthesizing diverse elements of climate information, from precipitation and temperature projections, to sea level and cost estimates, to develop simulations of impacts on all areas of civil systems.

This analysis is being transformed into policy recommendations with the specific purpose of promoting changes that recognize the challenge of climate change while balancing the needs of the community over the next century. However, these recommendations are not made in isolation. The iCliCS group works closely with research and consulting groups from around the world to bring the greatest knowledge available to bear on the global issues facing us today. This emphasis on creating innovative solutions is leading the iCliCS group in its focus on creating a global impact through a multi-disciplinary, systems perspective.