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DAMMED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON'T:
Global sea level rise and the consequences for the built environment
In light of the impacts of recent natural disasters, including the cases of Hurricane Katrina and Andrew, the need is evident for a proactive and transparent Engineering Policy approach to protect the coastal built environment. This response is especially critical considering climate change and the potential for global rise in mean sea level accompanied by increases in storm intensity and frequency.
This talk presents our simulation of the design and construction response required to protect the world's major ports from a significant rise in mean sea level. This simulation was developed through engineering design, GIS (Geographical Information System) Science, hydrologic modeling, and time scheduling based on a comparison of the project requirements to the current industry capacity. While our preliminary results show that the cost of protecting only the 177 most significant ports in terms of economic value (amongst nearly 3,000 major ports total) will be significant, our analysis also shows that the most troubling aspect of an engineering and construction response to sea level rise is the requirement for materials. This will cause dramatic shortages in sand, gravel and other materials, which will ripple through the entire construction industry.
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