Impact of Extreme Weather on Research

The potential impacts of extreme weather (heat, cold, wind, rain, etc.) on research labs and research can be significant without proper preparation. Here are some potential impacts and ways researchers can help prepare for and mitigate these impacts:


Disruption of Experiments: Extreme heat/cold can lead to fluctuations in environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity, which may disrupt ongoing experiments.

Equipment Malfunction and Damage: High/low temperatures can cause equipment to overheat or malfunction, potentially leading to data loss and costly repairs.

Data Security: Power outages and equipment failures due to extreme weather can result in data loss or corruption.


Emergency Preparedness: Researchers should be aware of emergency response protocols for weather-related incidents, such as power outages or equipment failures. Additional mitigation measures include:

    • Regularly backing up data and working with Facilities Management & Operations (FMO) to implement appropriate data backup solutions and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems for critical equipment.
    • Inventory freezers, refrigerators, incubators, and other equipment and ensure all critical equipment is connected to emergency power (red plugs)
    • Document and report any equipment issues promptly to FMO
    • Turn off non-essential equipment and lights when not in use and optimize the use of shared spaces to reduce overall energy demand.
    • Appoint lab or department personnel to be able to come to the lab to the lab on a 24-hour basis to implement lab-specific response actions
    • Ensure BU Alert contact and office location info is up to date, so you receive building notifications.

Adapting Research Protocols: In the face of extreme weather, researchers may need to adapt their research protocols to account for potential temperature-related variations in their results. This may involve calibrating instruments for different environmental conditions or adjusting experimental parameters accordingly. Other measures may include

    • Shutting down all non-essential, temperature-sensitive, or experiments that use hazardous materials
    • Do not open freezers and refrigerators unless absolutely necessary
  • Turn off and unplug all non-essential equipment especially computers, printers, etc.