SEAPORTS Magazine has a feature article by Dr. Austin Becker and me, "Superstorms and Rising Sea Level Present a New Challenge for Ports" in the Summer 2014 issue. Austin Becker teaches as the University of Rhode Island. His PhD thesis from Stanford was about Ports and vulnerability to climate change.
Ports have a special need to look ahead, assess their risks and begin adapting to climate change. With truly massive fixed infrastructure, large port facilities worldwide are starting to pay particular attention to the new outlook that sea level rise has only just started. With a useful life of a half century or longer for their assets, it is very relevant to start planning ahead for the new reality.
The issue of SEAPORTS may be viewed online at http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/AAPQ/AAPQ0214/index.php A download is also available on this page.
Reinforcing the rapidly growing awareness in the maritime sector, I was recently was the keynote speaker at the annual Decison Makers Conference, for the Bay Planning Coalition, held in Oakland on May 16. The audience of more than three hundred reprsenting ports, energy companies, utilities, and engineering firms was so interested following my half hour keynote, that they arranged a 3 hour Seminar for the following month, which was hosted by the Port of San Francisco.
All of this interest underscores that the working waterfront may be one of the first sectors to grasp the profound change that is now headed for coastal areas worldwide. Ports have a special challenge in that they have to be located right at sea level, accessible to today's massive ships. In the event of storms, tsunamis and other natural disasters their ability to operate becomes more critical than ever in terms of disaster response and reconstruction. If ports are knocked out of operation, relief supplies, and commercial supply lines will have to find alternate routes. Once companies find alternate supply lines, they may not return. All of this explains why the maritime industry is starting to pay particular attention to the risk of ever rising sea level, which will add to the impact of "superstorms."