Engineering and policy responses to climate change impacts on seaports
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Engineering and Policy Responses to Climate Change Impacts on Seaports. CEE 129/229 Autumn 2009 Prof. Martin Fischer, CEE Prof. Ben Schwegler , Chief Scientist at Walt Disney PROF . Mike Mastrandrea , IPCC Austin Becker (Teaching Assistant), E-IPER. Overview.

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Engineering and Policy Responses to Climate Change Impacts on Seaports

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Engineering and policy responses to climate change impacts on seaports

Engineering and Policy Responses to Climate Change Impacts on Seaports

CEE 129/229

Autumn 2009

Prof. Martin Fischer, CEE

Prof. Ben Schwegler, Chief Scientist at Walt Disney

PROF. Mike Mastrandrea, IPCC

Austin Becker (Teaching Assistant), E-IPER



  • Introductions and Background

  • Project Overview - CEE SUPERSLR Work to Date

  • Seminar Speakers this Quarter

  • Grading

  • Project Examples

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Engineering and policy responses to climate change impacts on seaports


“Ports should effectively prepare for the impacts of climate change to ensure their role as the indispensable nodal points of global logistic systems.”

Resolution of the IAPH, Genoa, Italy May 2009

What would you do with your 1 investment

What would you do with your $1 Investment?


R&D Design

R&D Construction

R&D Materials


Non-maritime business?




Concrete Plants

Climate change scenarios

Climate Change Scenarios

  • Sea levels to rise .6 – 2 meters by 2100

  • Ocean storms to be more frequent and more intense

  • Ocean storm tracks to shift

  • Inland flooding to increase

Pfeffer, T. et al. Kinematic Constraints on Glacier Contributions to 21st-Century Sea-Level Rise. Science Sept. 5, 2008.

IPCC, 2007

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Coastal development and ports

Coastal Development and Ports

  • Over half of world’s population lives within 200km of the coast (UN, 2001)1

  • 35% coastal pop. growth projected between 1995-2025 (Columbia U.)2

  • 7.187 billion metric tons of seaborne trade in 2006 (AAPA)3

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Impacts on ports

Impacts on Ports


$2.4 Billion Damage

to Texas ports/waterways

Photos from Alabama State Port Authority


$100 Million in Damage to 3 MS Ports

$1.7 Billion in damage to Southern LA ports

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Who should care about climate change impacts on ports

Who should care about climate change impacts on ports?

Insurance Industry









Policy Makers and Regulators

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Protective measures

Protective Measures

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The famous dutch deltaworks

The famous Dutch Deltaworks

  • 20 days after disaster first Deltacommission installed

  • Their mission: advise the government on the execution of a Deltaplan that would secure the safety of the Delta area in a sustainable way

    • BUT: without limiting access to Rotterdam & Antwerp

  • They gave out four ‘advices’ to the government including several types of water structures to be built: dikes, dams, storm surge barriers, sluices & locks.



  • First dikes temporarily restored with bags of sand, then restored to original strength and beyond.

  • Typical lay-out of a dike

Source: ProjectbureauZeeweringen, 2009

Engineering and policy responses to climate change impacts on seaports



  • More cost-effective, easy & safe solution: dams!

  • Generally built in two ways (can be combined):

    • using so-called open or closed ‘caissons’

    • using cableways and dropping concrete blocks in sea

Source: StichtingDeltawerken Online, 2004

Storm surge barrier


Storm surge barrier

  • Remember the BUT: safety without limiting access to Rotterdam & Antwerp storm surge barriers!

    • HollandseIJsselkering

    • Maeslantkering

    • Hartelkering

  • Exception: Oosterscheldekering environmental factors beat economic factors

    • Storm surge barrier instead of dam

    • Biggest project of Deltaplan

    • Movie!

Source: StichtingDeltawerken Online, 2004




  • Sluice? Water channel controlled at its head by a gate; to regulate water inflow or outflow; no boats!

    • Sluice in Haringvlietdam to let out excess water to sea

    • Sluice in Brouwersdam to let in salt water

    • Bath Drain Canal and Sluices

      • 8km long, 140m wide, 7m deep, 8.5 million m3 water/day

      • Built to assist Oosterschelde- kering and let out excess sweet water to Westerschelde (open estuary of Antwerp)

Source: screenshot from Google Maps




  • Lock? Device that raises/lowers boats between water of different levels on river and canal waterways

  • How does it work?

  • Locks located in dams on navigation routes

Source: Wikipedia, 2005

Project overview

Project Overview

2 cm/year (≈2 meters by 2100)

Construction Capacity

1 cm/year (≈ 1 meter by 2100)

.03 cm/year (current rate)

  • Multidisciplinary Project started in Autumn 2007

    • What is the magnitude of a reasonable response to protect major coastal ports around the world from a significant SLR (in terms of cost, materials, labor, and time)?

    • How would a global effort on that scale compare to the current/projected capacity of the construction industry?

  • Past Quarters

    • Global Problem

      • Global Construction Capacity

    • Case Studies

      • Auckland

      • Bremen/Bremerhaven

      • Chennai

      • Galveston/Houston

      • Los Angeles/Long Beach

      • New Orleans


Current project status

Current Project Status

  • Completed Case Studies

    • Auckland

    • Bremen/Bremerhaven

    • Chennai

    • Galveston/Houston

    • Los Angeles/Long Beach

    • New Orleans

  • Sebastian Program

    • Collects user-inputted data on ports around the world and can automatically generate a 'minimum credible design' to protect the ports from SLR based on user-defined criteria.

  • Global Construction Capacity

  • Survey of Port Directors

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Methodology for case studies

Methodology for Case Studies

  • Goal: evaluate and strengthen project by performing detailed case studies in different regions

  • Overall procedure:

    • Site identification

    • Conceptual design alternatives evaluation

    • Schematic design development

    • Incorporation of results in overall project

  • Tools have been developed to simplify the data collection and design element

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Google earth

World’s most important 178 ports, integrated into Google Earth

Google Earth

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Gis model

GIS Model

“Automatically” determines protection length and average structure height

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Sebastian geodata management system

Sebastian GeoData Management System

Directly in Google Earth

Combines Port Characteristics, Port Polygons, and GIS Model

Adds new User Notes feature for collaboration

See the Wiki for details!

Global construction data availability

Global Construction Data Availability

Good AvailabilityPoor Availability

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Survey of port directors worldwide

Survey of Port Directors Worldwide

  • How are port administrators considering climate change impacts on their operations on the 50 year time horizon?

  • Are ports implementing adaptation strategies?

  • What climate assumptions are they basing their long range plans upon?

  • What information do they consider necessary to plan for facility maintenance and growth while addressing climate change in the coming 50 years?

  • Are certain categories of ports or port directors considering these issues more?

Coastal Zone 09





Port Info

Coastal Zone 09

Working group wiki

Working Group Wiki

  • Project knowledge

  • Central working point for collaboration and sharing information

  • Work space for classes and students

Webmaster: Henning

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Autumn quarter 2009

Autumn Quarter 2009

Seminar or Full Course

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Engineering and policy responses to climate change impacts on seaports

Next Week

Are We Future-Ready?

How Arup is responding to climate change impacts on ports

Francesca Birks, Nathan Chase, and Amy Leitch

Ports and harbors face a unique set of challenges and opportunities in adapting to climate change and mitigating the contributions resulting from construction and operations. With over 60 years of work in the built environment, Arup draws from experience and forward-thinking R&D to deliver innovative and sustainable designs, including a variety of maritime and waterfront projects.

This presentation will highlight some of the work of Arup Foresight + Innovation, case studies of coastal infrastructure projects, and a look ahead to some of the opportunities and threats brought about by the opening of the Northwest Passage to shipping.

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  • Oct. 6 – Kris Ebi, Executive Director, IPCC Working Group II Technical Support Unit.

    Working Group II - Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability

  • Oct. 13 – Miguel Esteban

  • Port Investments Required for Climate Change Adaptation

  • Oct. 20 – Peter Wijsman (ARCADIS)

    Incorporating Climate Change in Infrastructure Engineering

  • Oct. 27 - Robert Muir Wood, VP of Research for Risk Management Solutions (RMS)

    Climate Change Catastrophe Modeling for the Insurance Industry

  • Nov. 3 - Ellen Johnk, Executive Director San Francisco Bay Planning Coalition

    Sea Level Rise Policy Implications for Bay Area Industry

  • Nov. 10 – Prof. Fred Raichlen, Professor of Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, Emeritus, Caltech

    The Role of Harbor Resonance in Port Operations

  • Nov. 17 – Thomas Kendall, Chief, Planning Branch. US Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District.

    Planning for Sea Level Rise Within the Corps of Engineers

  • Dec. 2 – International Assoication of Ports and Harbors

    Planning for Long Term Climate Changes

  • Dec. 9 – 4 Credit students give final presentations

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Grading breakdown

Grading Breakdown

  • 2 Credits (credit/no credit) – Students are expected to attend all presentations and contribute to discussions. In addition, each student must:

  • Prepare a brief introduction to a speaker for the class. Introductions will be delivered the week prior to the selected speaker’s presentation.

  • Select readings for the class to help prepare for the selected speaker and generate two questions to help kick off post-presentation discussion.

  • Participate actively in the online discussion forum (at least 10 thoughtful posts).

  • Select one final project (see below) to peer review at the end of the quarter.

  • Students who miss a class will be asked to complete additional tasks at the discretion of the instructor. Missing or being late to more than one class will result in no credit.

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Grading cont

Grading, Cont.

  • 4 Credits (letter grade)– Students are expected to fulfill the requirements above, plus develop an independent project to be presented at the end of the quarter. Students must:

  • Attend all seminars and working sessions.

  • Choose one seminar presentation and write a 1-2 page response.

  • Develop an independent contribution to the larger project.

    • Examples

      • Undertake a case study

      • Expand significantly on an existing case study

      • Other projects considered upon approval of teaching team

    • Guidelines

      • 20-30 page report

      • Final presentation

      • Delivareables must be posted to the website

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Case study example

Case Study Example

  • Select one or more ports

    • Approximately 170 previously identified ports that have not been studied

  • Requirements

    • Written case study report, following the case study methodology (available online)

      • Site Identification and Design Conditions

      • Design Alternatives

      • Schematic Design

      • Integration with Overall Project

    • Final presentation on the case study

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Other projects for 4 credits

Other Projects for 4 Credits

  • Regional and global assessment of construction capacity and cost and availability of construction materials, equipment, and labor

  • Public outreach and dissemination of information

    • Web-based tools, Google Earth, conference presentations, et cetera.

  • Coastal protection structure design

    • Apply to multiple ports with similar characteristics worldwide

  • International policy and regulatory research on strategies for implementing port protection programs throughout the world

  • Parametric modeling in 3D and 4D

  • Economic strategies for funding and generating incentive structures for port protection programs

  • Hydrological modeling for extreme conditions in ports

    • Wave impacts, rain and/or river floods, storm surge, tsunamis, etc.

  • Report-writing on the state of knowledge

    • In climate change science, coastal engineering, experience of the Netherlands in coastal engineering, experience of Japan in coastal engineering, etc.

  • Environmental and ecosystem services impacts of global sea level rise and coastal protection strategies

  • Historical flood events, research into adaptation and mitigation strategies, costs, resource consumption data, etc.

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