2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal)

2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal) Conference

Incorporating Climate Change Considerations into Flood Mapping and Infrastructure Design in Newfoundland and Labrador

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Dr. Joseph Daraio, Memorial University of Newfoundland (Presenter)
Dr. Amir Ali Khan, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
Dr. Joel Finnis`, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Climate change is projected to bring warmer, wetter and stormier weather conditions across Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), with the most significant impacts expected for Labrador. Extreme precipitation and weather events are expected to increase in both frequency and intensity, and the degree of change will vary depending upon the local climate region. The potential for infrastructure damage and associated public safety risks, e.g. coastal erosion and property damage, will vary across the province. In March, 2017, the Government of NL (GNL) announced a plan to invest $3 billion dollars over 5 years through its infrastructure plan. Design of infrastructure requires the use of the statistics of extreme events to balance the cost of construction with estimates of the risk of failure. Recent climate trends and future climate projections show that past weather conditions can no longer be used to accurately predict the future and accurately assess risk.  At present, climate change, or non-stationarity, is not consistently incorporated into infrastructure design in NL. Integrating climate change considerations into infrastructure and development decisions will ensure that new infrastructure investments are able to withstand the climate of the future.  The GNL has a suite of world class data and resources available for this purpose, which includes recently updated (2018) regionally downscaled climate data for the province and updated Intesity-Duration-Frequency curves derived from these data.  However,  a number of issues has limited awareness and deployment of these resources, including the fact that key decision-makers and professionals are either unaware of the resources or lack in-house expertise to use them.  Memorial University of Newfoundland has partnered with the GNL, Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL), Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland and Labrador (PEGNL), and Engineers Canada on a project funded by Natural Resources Canada to train professional engineers and planners on how to incorporate climate change considerations into infrastructure planning and design.  We will discuss existing tools developed by the GNL, and how they have been used to date for flood mapping and infrastructure design, and plans to encourage and enhance the use of these tools.  We will describe some of our recent efforts in knowledge transfer and training of professional engineers in the use of these tools.   Finally, we  discuss areas where further tool development is required, and identify some important knowledge gaps limiting our ability to incorporate climate change into infrastructure planning and design.