Applying Climate Change Information to Hydrologic and Hydraulic Design of Transportation Infrastructure
By Casey Kramer
Hydraulic engineers across the nation are being asked to account for global climate change within the hydrologic and hydraulic (H&H) design practice. Current H&H design procedures typically rely on use of historical data that are assumed to represent a stationary process. A changing climate, however, introduces non-stationary risks such as sea level and temperature rise, and changes in timing and distribution of precipitation, snowpack, and snowmelt. Failure to account for such non-stationary risks may compromise the operational characteristics of existing and future transportation infrastructure.
To assist in developing new methods and guidelines to account for the non-stationary aspects of a changing climate, the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering is currently funding a research project focused on Applying Climate Change Information to Hydrologic and Hydraulic Design of Transportation Infrastructure (NCHRP Project 15-61). The project panel and research team is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of climate change scientists, hydrologists, hydraulic engineers, and coastal engineers to research how to integrate climate change factors into the H&H design practice.
The overall objective of this research is to develop a design guide of national scope which will provide hydraulic engineers the tools necessary to amend the current H&H practice to account for climate change. The research will also assist hydraulic engineers in justifying when climate change may not be warranted for a given project.
The project panel has selected a contractor which will start work in the upcoming couple months. This project has a 24-month duration and therefore should be complete by 2019. Feel free to email me with any questions regarding the research.
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