National Academies Press: OpenBook

Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk (2018)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Introduction

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25327.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25327.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25327.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25327.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25327.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25327.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25327.
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1 1.1 Who Should Use This Handbook? • Do you manage airport infrastructure or services? • Does weather affect the infrastructure or services that you manage? • Does weather influence your airport’s ability to operate? • Do you wish to reduce the financial, operational, and safety risks at your airport? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, this handbook is for you. Even if your airport has not experienced extreme weather events in recent years, it is important to understand how the climate may change in your area and what the associated vulnerabilities and risks are to maintaining your day-to-day operations. Specifically, this handbook is for executives, managers, and staff responsible for minimizing disruptions to airport services, maintaining or repairing infrastructure, managing investments in infrastructure, and planning other long-term or strategic activities. If you fit in one of these categories, this handbook will help you to identify your risks associated with changing local cli- mate conditions and appropriate strategies to manage those risks. Users of this handbook may include • Department or system managers (e.g., capital planning, asset management) who are ideally positioned to identify strategies for integrating climate risk management into the systems that they manage; • Climate risk management champions (i.e., individuals or teams) who lead your airport by coordinating information collection and sharing efforts across departments, tenants, and external stakeholders; and • Airport executives who prioritize and guide how your airport addresses and prepares to mitigate climate risks as part of existing management systems and who guide management in identifying opportunities for collaboration across the airport. 1.2 Why Should I Use This Handbook? Assumptions about climate and weather are built into deci- sions made throughout most airport management systems. The infrastructure is designed and built to withstand a specific range of climate conditions (e.g., a specific temperature or amount of C H A P T E R 1 Introduction Benefits of Addressing Climate Risks at Airports • Save on maintenance costs for pavement repair, drainage system maintenance, and other weather-related costs. • Improve safety and security for staff and passengers. • Avoid being caught unprepared for an extreme weather event. • Avoid underestimating infrastructure sizing requirements. • Maintain compliance with environmental, safety, and other regulations. • Improve reliability and customer service. • Maintain continuity of operations during an unplanned or emergency event. • Improve ability to recover from an extreme event.

2 Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk rainfall). For example, the selection of pavement mix and other materials is based on assump- tions about local temperatures, and drainage systems are designed on the basis of assumptions about local precipitation patterns. Airport management systems often use similar methods. Budget planning, for instance, involves assumptions about how much infrastructure mainte- nance or replacement is needed to counteract the effects of climate and weather. Emergency management and irregular operations planning involves assumptions about events that might disrupt operations. The expectations for climate and weather conditions are usually based on historical records. However, climate change means that past events are not indicative of future events. If climate change is not taken into account, the design of expensive infrastructure could be inadequate for future needs, the airport could be underprepared for extreme weather events and associated service disruptions, and other financial and operational planning efforts might not be optimized. Because climate change is often thought of as something in the future, some people may think that there is no need to take action today. This position may seem bolstered by the discussion of scientists and media about how the climate will be different in 2050 or 2100— decades ahead. However, it is important to remember the following: • Infrastructure is costly to build and is often expected to last for decades. It can also be difficult and expensive to replace. For example, a drainage system that was not sufficiently sized for future rainfall patterns may lead to increasingly frequent flooding. It is often easier and more cost-effective to plan and design with those challenges in mind. • Climate change is a gradual phenomenon that occurs over decades, rather than abruptly changing in one year. Although a report might project a climate in terms of what 2050 may look like, changes in the weather are already under way and may introduce risks to the climate on a much shorter timescale than expected. • Climate represents averages of an area’s weather. A given year may be hotter or colder, or wet- ter or drier, than average. Despite projections of the climate around 2050, annual variations mean that more extreme weather events could be experienced far earlier. Examples of Climate Change Impacts on Airports • Shifting averages and temperature extremes may cause a variety of impacts: – Pavement deterioration may affect maintenance and capital expenditures (e.g., replacement after 10 years instead of 15 years). – Increased frequency of extreme heat conditions may affect worker safety and delay summertime construction schedules. – Changes in weather-based tourism (e.g., skiing) may affect demand. – Adjustments to employee safety measures because of heat or cold stress may negatively affect productivity. • Frequent heavy precipitation events may stress drainage infrastructure, reduce useful life expectancies of infrastructure, and cause flooding and damage. • The rise in the sea level may extend the reach of storm surge and threaten criti- cal infrastructure. • Changes in winter weather patterns may lead to adjustments in winter opera- tions and equipment needs. • Water scarcity and drought may affect facility development and operational costs, particularly in southwestern regions.

Introduction 3 Airports may experience climate changes both in the short term and the long term. Differ- ent sets of actions may be needed to address those risks. There are many ways to manage your airport’s climate risk proactively—and not all involve costly changes to existing infrastructure. Understanding how the future may change enables you to make cost-effective decisions in the short term about adjusting to infrastructure design, planning for extreme events, and improving maintenance and repair practices. Planning for climate change is an opportunity to make smart, long-term decisions now that will save money later, minimize service disruption, and keep your employees, passengers, and community safe. Won’t My Business-as-Usual Processes Take Care of My Climate Risks? Some business-as-usual processes, such as annual engineering assessments and capital improvement planning exercises, can help you to stay on top of trends and impacts as they occur at your airport. These processes are best suited to manage risks that change gradually. However, these existing processes may not be sufficient when changes are happening quickly or when the potential impacts would be severe: both situations can be true of climate risks. In addition, there may be opportunities to be more proactive about preventing climate impacts in the first place by understanding where climate trends may be headed. Existing processes are often not designed to indicate that long-lived infrastructure should be designed to accommodate these trends. This handbook will help you identify opportunities to be proactive about preventing impacts. What About Uncertainty? Uncertainty in future climate risk is a common challenge for airports and other entities. Although the direction of change may be certain, the exact level of change is less so. This situation can be particularly challenging for engineering because you need to pick a specific value to design and build to. Uncertainty in choosing this value is sometimes used as a reason for not taking action. However, it is important to remember that uncertainty is not unique to climate data—most data sets and models have underlying uncertainties and assumptions. For example, major capital investment decisions are already based on uncertain assumptions such as future passenger volume and use when building or expand- ing airports. Climate change uncertainty is one more uncertainty to manage but should not prohibit action. The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) (Boston) is an example of an entity that has taken actions to account for uncertainty. After assessing flood models of its assets, Massport published its Floodproofing Design Guide, which set a design flood elevation for new and existing infrastructure. The standard is based on a 500-year event plus 3 feet of freeboard, which serves as an additional safety fac- tor against flooding or wave action. Massport has already begun floodproofing its most critical assets.

4 Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk Finally, even if your airport is not coastal or is not currently experiencing issues with flood- ing or extreme weather, it is valuable to consider how climate risks will change both regionally and locally and whether small adjustments to your airport’s decision-making processes would increase your long-term resilience to climate risks. Figure 1 illustrates how the handbook can be useful to both a highly vulnerable airport and a less vulnerable airport. Regardless of location, past weather experiences are not indicative of the future. Use this guidebook to make a fully informed decision regarding when and how to address your airport’s potential climate risks. 1.3 What Is the Purpose of This Handbook? This handbook provides a practical approach to account for climate risks at an airport using a two-step process. The pro- cess, which includes the completion of a self-assessment and the ongoing planning and implementation of one of seven common management systems identified in this handbook, is repeatable and scalable. Specifically, the handbook will help you to identify climate resources and basic climate entry points within common airport management systems to inform deci- sions better on investing, planning, and design. The intended outcome is a more resilient airport that can avoid many impacts of climate change. 1.4 What Does the Handbook Cover? The handbook is structured into two main stages: self-assessment (i.e., understanding risks) and integration (i.e., managing risks). See Figure 2. Chapter 2 provides guidance on conducting a self-assessment to identify how the climate is projected to change locally and which existing management systems at your airport might be best suited to use first to address those changes. Table 1 describes the seven common airport management systems into which climate risks can be easily integrated. These and other airport management systems are interrelated, and outputs from one sys- tem can inform other systems. For example, a priority project identified as part of your master plan update could be an input for developing the next iteration of your capital plan. Figure 3 illustrates some of these relationships. Chapter 3 provides strategies to communicate, coordinate, and build support around climate risk management. Chapter 4 provides strategies to account for climate risks in selected management systems. A management system at your airport may vary in the number and types of steps typically fol- lowed in comparison with those presented in this handbook. However, in an effort to provide guidance across the airport industry and meet the needs of airports of various sizes and gov- erning structures, a comprehensive, formal description of each included management system is presented. Airport Management Systems Addressed in This Handbook 1. Strategic planning 2. Master planning 3. Enterprise risk management 4. Safety management 5. Capital planning 6. Asset management 7. Emergency management

Introduction 5 Figure 1. Usefulness of handbook to airports with a range of climate risks.

6 Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk Management System Description Strategic planning Strategic planning defines an airport’s long-term strategy and direction and guides airport planning and management processes. Master planning Master planning addresses infrastructure to meet forecasted service levels. Enterprise risk management An enterprise risk management system is the encompassing management mechanism at an airport that holistically addresses the organization’s risks. Safety management A safety management system identifies the safety performance indicators that address the main hazards and incidents at an airport. Hazards may include personal injury, accidents/incidents resulting from equipment, or organizational practices and environment (e.g., terminal, parking garages). Capital planning Capital planning covers longer-term investments in infrastructure, equipment, and so forth. Asset management Asset management accounts for the status of existing assets and infrastructure to maintain operations, and manages measures to repair, rehabilitate, or replace aging or poor condition assets. Emergency management Emergency management covers responses to emergency situations, including severe weather-related emergencies. Although the planning horizon is short, this management system would benefit from some sort of trigger or process to ensure that future emergency management plans include new hazards due to a changing climate. Table 1. Airport management systems for integrating climate risks. SELF-ASSESSMENT INTEGRATION IDENTIFY CLIMATE HAZARDS. IDENTIFY RELEVANT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM(S). BUILD SUPPORT. TAKE ACTION TO INTEGRATE CLIMATE RISKS. Figure 2. Handbook overall approach. The chapter describes how and where to account for climate risks in each management system. The chapter also includes a section on adaptive management strategies that can occur within or across management systems. Chapter 5 presents the next steps to assist with advancing climate risk management from planning to actual implementation. Accompanying this handbook is a quick start guide (Appendix E and online), which provides an easy entry into the handbook content. The quick start guide presents the key actions needed to start managing climate risks. You may choose to follow the quick start guide when taking your initial planning steps and refer to this more detailed handbook as needed. Other users may wish to use this handbook from start to finish.

Introduction 7 Note: Airport functional areas, systems, and plans are representative and may vary by airport. Figure 3. Interrelationship of common airport management systems.

Next: Chapter 2 - Conduct Self-Assessment of Relevant Climate Hazards and Management Systems »
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TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Research Report 188: Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk integrates current and projected climate change related risks into airport management systems and planning. The handbook identifies ways to reduce airport vulnerabilities to current and projected impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events. It also explores ways to minimize long-term costs to airport facilities and operations. This handbook provides a detailed guide for integration, as well as a self-assessment tool for determining the applicable systems for climate-related decision-making within the airport.

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