Influence of global warming on coastal infrastructural instability

The increasing infrastructure instability is an important issue in relation to the influences of global climate change in urban areas. A serious issue pertaining to this is the dual nature of damage triggered by events combined with climate change and natural hazards. For example, catastrophic damage could result from the combination of global warming with a great earthquake, which is a worst-case scenario. Although this worst-case scenario has rarely occurred and presents a low probability of occurrence, countermeasures must be prepared in advance based on an appropriate response and adaptation strategies. After an overview of possible infrastructural instabilities caused by global warming, methodologies are proposed placing emphasis on the increasing probability of infrastructural instability triggered by natural hazards resulting from groundwater-level (GWL) variations. These effects are expected to be particularly serious in coastal regions because of the influence of the rising sea level resulting from global warming. The influence of sea-level rises (SLR) will become apparent along with land subsidence because groundwater abstraction will become severe in coastal regions. Additionally, the probability of earthquake liquefaction increases if GWL rises in accompaniment with SLR. Using case histories, we examined the possible occurrence of these natural hazards as a result of global warming. Finally, possible countermeasures and adaptation strategies for reducing and mitigating infrastructure damage accelerated by global warming are described for each case in specific regions. In particular, special attention should be paid to adaptation strategies in coastal lowlands, which particularly suffer from the effects of land subsidence.

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