Structural resilience of core port infrastructure in a changing climate. Work Package 3 of Enhancing the resilience of seaports to a changing climate report series

Authors: Daniel Kong, Sujeeva Setunge, Tom Molyneaux, Guomin Zhang and David Law
Year: 2013

An analysis of simulated deterioration of port infrastructure under 6 different climate change scenarios suggest that while different climate scenarios do not significantly affect the deterioration progression between the base case (current climate) and the future climate scenario, the time taken by a structural element to reach a deterioration threshold is significantly reduced, and on some occasions, the threshold can be reached ten years earlier compared to the current climate. This indicates a significant increase in the frequency of maintenance activities required in the future, compared to the current practice, in order to maintain structures at the levels currently adopted. The project used a user friendly software tool developed to provide information on the progression of a number of deterioration mechanisms affecting port structures over a 70 year time horizon. The tool allowed port engineers to ascertain the changes needed in maintenance of port infrastructure under 6 different climate scenarios. Port infrastructure identified as vulnerable to the effects of climate change included: landside components (berthing structures, protection barriers, port superstructures), seaside components (port channels, harbour basins), and transport (road and rail). Relevant climate variables included in the user-tool were changes in sea level, precipitation, wave conditions and temperatures. Reliable data could not be obtained for events such as extreme wind and storm events, so these were excluded from the analysis. A methodology for calculating the changes to the life cycle cost of port structures is also presented in this report, with demonstration of the method’s application within three case study port examples – Port Kembla Port Corporation, Gladstone Ports Corporation, and Sydney Ports Corporation (Port Botany).

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