How climate change impacts infrastructure: experts explain

The University of Sydney released a news article: How climate change impacts infrastructure: experts explain

From fires in the Amazon and in Australia, to flash flooding in Europe, right across the globe we are witnessing the impact of climate change on the environment. But how does a changing climate affect key infrastructure? Engineering experts explain.

How does climate change affect transport infrastructure?

School of Civil Engineering academic, Professor David Levinson is a transport engineering expert who says transport infrastructure both contributes to climate change, but can also be affected by it.

“The issue goes two ways in transport. Typically, road and air transport are considered major contributors to climate change, making up 23 percent of CO2 emissions,” said Professor Levinson.

“But transport is also vulnerable, particularly due to so many facilities like roads and bus terminals being in flood zones, for instance New Jersey Transit lost $US120 million in damage to buses after Hurricane Sandy.

“Many transport facilities are also below grade, tunnels like those in the New York Subway were severely damaged from flooding during Sandy. Airports being at low elevations along the coast are at risk of sea-level rise. Extreme heat can cause road buckling, freeze-thaw cycles cause pavement cracking and potholes.

“Extreme weather increases the variability of weather, and roads designed for a particular climate range may fail more quickly. All of these add costs to design and retrofit, as well as decreasing reliability for users.”