AT&T is paying Argonne National Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy for working on a climate resiliency project to better tackle the climate change and extreme weather events that could damage the company’s infrastructure over the next 30 years.
The project, in which Argonne predicted the potentially damaging climate-related events, will help the AT&T to safeguard its infrastructure through better anticipation, preparation for and adaptation to the impacts of extreme weather and climate change events.
AT&T’s announcement came on Wednesday as the company faced several natural disasters in past few years which resulted in heavy costs to it. The cost of damages faced by the telecommunication company is about $847 million since 2016, while it had to bear an amount of $626 million in 2017 alone for damages, as company reported operating revenue of $160.55 billion in that year while its has a market value of $229.9 billion.
The tool developed by Argonne will track hurricane, wind storms and floods in South and North Carolina, Florida and Georgia, said Charlene Lake, AT&T’s senior vice president for public affairs and chief sustainability officer. The company is also planning to extend the scope of climate projection across the country as well as to track droughts and wildfires.
The project, with ability of the company to insert more data into its system and its high-resolution climate models at the hyper-local levels, will enable AT&T to get information helping it to predict the impact of climate change up to 30 years in advance, which will provide the company to get more intelligence about the incidents going to be happened with its infrastructure into the future, Lake said in an interview.
The climate model of the project will provide guidance to the company’s decisions on whether to build protections around cell towers in areas with possibility of higher winds or to increase cell sites in areas likely exposed to floods, said Scott Mair, AT&T’s president of operations.