Climate Adaptation Engineering Strategies for Managing Infrastructure

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Despite the best mitigation efforts to reduce emissions, the latest research shows that global emissions trends are on track for a future temperature increases of 4-5 degrees Celsius by 2100.  A high-end emissions scenario is a future of extreme climatic events, the study says.

Climate change will bring in more extreme climatic events and increases in CO2 in the atmosphere, temperature and humidity will speed up the corrosion of concrete and steel structures while affecting timber decay.

The study, “Climate Adaption Engineering and Risk-based Design and Management of Infrastructure” investigates the impacts of climate change on infrastructures and people. It applies climate adaptation engineering to address these issues. 

“Climate adaptation engineering involves estimating the risks, costs and benefits of climate adaptation strategies (retrofitting, strengthening, enhanced designs) and assessing at what point in time climate adaptation becomes economically viable”.  A risk-based approach is the best adaptation strategy concerning the design and maintenance of existing infrastructure, according to the study.

The study presents five case studies that apply climate adaptation engineering and risk-based approach:

  • The resilience of water and power – interdependent infrastructure to floods. Looking at the interdependence of these infrastructures in terms of the service it provides and how extreme events like flooding can interrupt service and affect consumer satisfaction.  The study looks at the most cost-effective solution to ensure continuous service of interdependent infrastructure during service disruptions.
  • Strengthening Housing in Queensland against extreme wind. The study looks at the future change in the strength and wind and designing or retrofitting houses to accommodate these changes to reduce vulnerability.
  • Cost-effectiveness in the adaptation of reinforced concrete structures exposed to chloride ingress. Weather conditions particularly high humidity speeds up corrosion of steel in concrete. The case study discusses various engineering designs relative to the climate projections and the method in choosing the most cost-effective adaption measure.
  • Designing on- and offshore wind energy installations to allow for predicted evolutions in wind and wave loading, and
  • Impact and adaptation to coastal inundation.

The study provides useful information on adaptation engineering designs while integrating climate science and modelling to achieve the most cost-effective adaptation approaches.

The case studies demonstrate the practical application of climate adaptation engineering, which is useful for those involved in urban planning, infrastructure management, policymakers, and related fields.

To read the entire study, click on the link below:

Source citation:

Stewart, M., & Val, D., Bastidas-Arteaga, E., O’Connor, A., & Wang, X. (2014). Climate Adaptation Engineering and Risk-based Design and Management of Infrastructure. Retrieved from

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