Global Warming to Affect Transport

A National Research Council report released Tuesday states that America’s transportation infrastructure is at risk due to the effects of global warming. Severe weather and rising water levels will impact roadways, railroads, and airports. The report recommends cooperative efforts in transportation planning between federal, state, and local agencies, inventory and retrofit of critical infrastructure, and consideration of potential impacts of climate change on all future transportation projects.

Climate change will affect transportation primarily through increases in several types of weather and climate extremes. Climate warming over the next 50 to 100 years will be manifested by increases in very hot days and heat waves, increases in Arctic temperatures, rising sea levels coupled with storm surges and land subsidence, more frequent intense precipitation events, and increases in the intensity of strong hurricanes. The impacts will vary by mode of transportation and region of the country, but they will be widespread and costly in both human and economic terms and will require significant changes in the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of transportation systems.

The past several decades of historical regional climate patterns commonly used by transportation planners to guide their operations and investments may no longer be a reliable guide for future plans. In particular, future climate will include new classes (in terms of magnitude and frequency) of weather and climate extremes, such as record rainfall and record heat waves, not experienced in modern times as human-induced changes are superimposed on the natural variability of the climate.

Decisions transportation professionals take today, particularly those related to the redesign and retrofitting of existing transportation infrastructure or the location and design of new infrastructure, will affect how well the system adapts to climate change far into the future.

Some specific areas of concern mentioned in the report include:

– More heat waves, requiring load limits at hot-weather or high-altitude airports and causing thermal expansion of bridge joints and rail track deformities.

– Rising sea levels and storm surges flooding coastal roadways, forcing evacuations, inundating airports and rail lines, flooding tunnels and eroding bridge bases.

– More rainstorms, delaying air and ground traffic, flooding tunnels and railways, and eroding road, bridge and pipeline supports.

– More frequent strong hurricanes, disrupting air and shipping service, blowing debris onto roads and damaging buildings.

This report is a collaborative effort between the Transportation Research Board and the Division on Earth and Life Studies of the National Research Council. The sponsors of this report are the Transportation Research Board, National Cooperative Highway Research Program, U.S. Department of Transportation, Transit Cooperative Research Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Read the report summary; or

Read the full report.

0 responses to “Global Warming to Affect Transport”

  1. That does it. We need Global Warming agencies.
    At all levels. Federal, State and local.

    >Therefore, federal, state, and local governments, in collaboration with owners and
    operators of infrastructure such as ports and airports and private railroad and pipeline companies,should inventory critical transportation infrastructure to identify whether, when, and where projected
    climate changes in particular regions might be consequential.

    Gee a bunch of busy work and job security. What a shock. All for “Potential Impacts”.

    Better safe than sorry!

    What a set up.
    10, 20, 30, 40 50 and more years from now they’ll be saying the impacts are coming.

    >Transportation decision makers have an opportunity now to prepare for projected climate changes.

    What a way to put it. An “opportunity now” ?

    There goes countless millions on “preparing” paper work.

  2. Let’s see…100 year floods this winter and just 12 years ago. I-5 blocked for days near Chehalis while we plan on spending $4.5Billion on the I-5 bridges…which have a back up…I-205.
    Rail lines to Coos Bay, to California down for weeks, months?
    “Something is happening here and you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones.”

  3. Lenny-

    Yeah, global warming is going to challenge our entire current transportation paradigm. Luckily, we have been undergoing a gradual paradigm shift for many years now, but it will need to accelerate and become more widespread. “Flood control”, for instance, will need to include more wetlands and less channelization. But our entire national transportation infrastructure is aging and requires significant investment to bring it into the 21st century. Part of the beneficial effects of this “paper work” will be, hopefully, to create new guidelines that build all new projects to a higher standard, taking into account the potential effects of global warming — similar to seismic standards today.

  4. Yes, indeed the average 1 degree rise in temperature will unleash unforeseen global infrastructure catastophes. This is why, as SEIU and the NY Times recommends we need to spend 11 Trillion dollars fixing things! I guess we should have alllowed for that temperature difference when these projects were designed. There should have been some alternatives, considering that one degree would be an intolerable margin of error, given the primitive materials and engineering methods selected at the time. And I thought jihadists were frightening!

  5. OH BS Garlynn,

    This likely 100s of millions in “paper work” will be a huge detriment, needlessly creating new guidelines that will run up the cost by billions and reducing the the number of legitimate projects and inprovements we need.

    This Global Warming hoax is a conveyor belt to push along “for instance”, more wetlands.

    If you think your observations are signs of Global warming you’re not paying attention to the counter record cold and snowfalls around the globe. The ease at which you and yours attribute anything and everything to global warmning is a lesson is a phenomenom I can’t label politely.
    Floods have always happened. I-5 floods because of you guys and your agenda blocking the needed remedies. Primarily dredging.
    $4.5Billion on the I-5 bridges—– a lot less without light rail— has no relationship to GW. 05.
    Neither do the rail lines to Coos Bay & California. Those are more sing of your agenda neglecting basic infrastructure. For decades.

    Something is happening here alright and it’s an out of control agenda riding the Global Warming hoax.

    If you want to compare propose GW standards to seismic standards it would be like spending the huge cost of maximum seismic engineering in places where no seismic activity or faults have ever been found or witnessed.
    Just do it anyway just in case?
    Then why not restrict buildings here in Portland to stronger richter scale standards?
    Just in case we have a 9.5 quake. Why build 325 ft. towers in the known high risk fault area of SoWa?

    Accepting the extraordinary lame IPCC case for GW boggles the mind of skeptics like me.
    And here you are adovcating an endless amount of costly policies adressing eveything imaginable.

    You’ve attributed everything to GW.

  6. “I-5 floods because of you guys and your agenda blocking the needed remedies. Primarily dredging.”

    Why should we dredge a river that nobody runs cargo up anyways? Rivers silting up is a natural process, and since you know all about natural processes, you should know that we shouldn’t disrupt it so that some dredge operator can make a buck…

    But more importantly, there are better (and much cheaper) ways to fix that problem, like create a flood control district and have all the dams in the area coordinate their activities, (which is how we manage flooding on the Columbia):

  7. Yeah, and global warming MIGHT impact the Portland Streetcar that’s located at what, 30 feet above sea level – while I-5 (and I-405) sails by at a much higher elevation. Amtrak would be unable to move anyone in/out of Portland (I believe in 1948 that Union Station was under several feet of water, forcing the railroads to terminate their passenger trains well away from downtown – Southern Pacific terminated their trains at Brooklyn Yard.)

    Of course, northwest Portland used to be a significant wetland and home to at least two lakes. Maybe we ought to truly show our “environmentalist” side, and raze the Pearl District to restore that native beauty. Imagine a huge Central Park like park filled with trees, wildlife, lakes, grassy fields, and so on…

  8. It certainly doesn’t take much sea level rise to take out most airports. Portland is surrounded by a levy, and a good flood on the Columbia almost tops that already. But 10 feet of sea level rise will completely take out San Fransisco and Oakland’s airports.

  9. “But 10 feet of sea level rise will completely take out San Fransisco and Oakland’s airports.”

    Ok so in 50 years when the sea has risen none or 4 1/2 inches we can look at the “problem” again.

    This 10 ft biz is just garbage.

    Why not say 50 feet?

    If you’re gonna make up shat go for it.

  10. If you’re gonna make up shat go for it.

    John E – Mind toning down a little? Thanks.

    Your humble moderator. (I know, not so humble, but please, keep it civil.)

  11. Dear John,

    Maybe it was the nukes in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. Maybe it’s the cars. Maybe it’s the cows. Maybe it’s the power plants. Maybe it’s the trucks. Maybe it’s the trains.

    Does it hurt to try?

  12. It’s obvious that the Transportation Research Board and the Division on Earth and Life Studies of the National Research Council are irrelevant boards staffed by a bunch of Loonie Liberals.

    If Reagan were still president, he would help sort us out of this mess.

  13. “If Reagan were still president, he would help sort us out of this mess.”

    ~~~>BUSH hasn’t satisfied your lust for meanness and mayhem?

    You wanna bring back the walking/talking mannequin that never did have much of a brain to begin with?

  14. If Reagan were still president, he would help sort us out of this mess.

    If Reagan were still president, he’d be 97 years old and incapacitated by Alzheimer’s.

    Probably still an improvement over the current guy, though.

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