Assessment of Climate Change Impact on Hydraulic Design Procedures of Bridges

Anjuman Ara Akhter, University of Texas at El Paso


The significant change in climate is evident from the records of increased temperature, changed precipitation pattern, increased frequency of extreme weather events like storms, floods, and so forth. Like other infrastructure highway infrastructures also suffer the consequences of these climate change. Since the hydraulic design of these infrastructures is performed using historical climate data, the designs may not be able to provide services because designs are not considering climate change influence especially in terms of precipitation intensity. This study aims at identifying the most accurate source of climate database that predicts future climate change with less uncertainty and links them into the evaluation of vulnerability and risk of the bridges so that the impact of future climate can be incorporated into the design of new infrastructures. In this study, the NARCCAP database has been used to extract the future climate data for different cities of SPTC representing states. Climate models have predicted as high as 10.2% increase in precipitation for Houston, Texas, which leads to an increase in the magnitude of streamflow in that region. A hydraulic model has been established using HEC-RAS for streamflow modeling. Overtopping depth and scour depth have been estimated as the primary vulnerability stressors of the bridge. This study has estimated the range of the return periods of the floods for which bridge may fail under the predicted future climate scenarios. The annual economic loss has been calculated for the bridges, and possible adaptation strategies have been suggested using HYRISK software.

Subject Area

Civil engineering|Transportation

Recommended Citation

Akhter, Anjuman Ara, "Assessment of Climate Change Impact on Hydraulic Design Procedures of Bridges" (2018). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI13422675.