Applying and Adapting Climate Models to Hydraulic Design Procedures

Hydraulic engineers are being asked to account for global climate change within hydraulic design procedures. To provide hydraulics engineers with the tools needed to amend practice to account for climate change, output from climate models must be downscaled and modified to provide recommended changes to regional precipitation data for design events used by hydraulics engineers. Collaborative efforts between climate scientists, hydrologists, hydraulic engineers, and coastal engineers are essential to producing these design inputs that are needed to amend hydraulic designs. Incorporating the results of climate models will have very large cost implications for future infrastructure. Overestimating the magnitude of peak flows suggested by climate models can result in costly over sizing of drainage infrastructure, while underestimating may leave infrastructure vulnerable and their resultant flooding impacts on surrounding lands and structures inadequately addressed. The objectives of this research are to: (1) identify the needed levels of precision, accuracy, and confidence for climate models to be compatible with that of the data used in current hydrologic/hydraulic analysis and design techniques, identify downscaling strategies to move climate models closer towards these levels of precision, accuracy, and confidence, and develop science-based strategies and methodologies to advance engineering in extending climate predictions when the limits of downscaling of climate models are reached; (2) identify and quantify resiliency in existing hydraulic design practices due to current safety factors and conservative assumptions/techniques; and (3) identify cost-effective adaptation solutions that extend existing infrastructure to continue to function to the end of its service life despite not having been designed for climate change. An outcome of this research will be a guidance document with a list of available and achievable hydraulic resiliency in design for retrofits.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 15-61

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Harrigan, Edward

  • Start Date: 20150806
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 40210

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01572389
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 15-61
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Aug 7 2015 1:01AM