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  • Michael Robinson

Climate Change and Structural Engineering: Adapting to Extreme Weather Events

In recent years, we have witnessed an alarming increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events around the world. Hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and heatwaves have become more common, posing significant challenges to communities and infrastructure.


Climate change, driven largely by pollution from the use of fossil fuels, is a primary driver of these extreme events. As a result, the field of structural engineering is facing a pressing need to adapt to this by designing resilient structures capable of withstanding the forces unleashed by these natural disasters. In this blog post, we will explore the impact of climate change on structural engineering practices and the call for resilient, considered designs.


The Growing Impact of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat - it is happening right now. Rising global temperatures have led to the melting of polar ice caps, causing sea levels to rise. This in turn, has made coastal areas more susceptible to storm surges and flooding. Additionally, changes in weather patterns have brought about more intense and frequent weather events, including hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires.


Structural engineers have long been responsible for designing buildings, bridges, dams, and other infrastructure to withstand the forces of nature. However, the increasing severity of extreme weather events has exposed vulnerabilities in many existing structures. Inadequate planning and outdated building codes have left communities susceptible to damage and loss of life.


The Need for Resilient Design

Resilient design is a fundamental concept in the field of structural engineering. It involves creating structures that not only meet safety standards but also have the ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions.


Conclusion

Climate change is an undeniable reality that is reshaping the world as we know it. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe especially if we continue down our abuse of Plant Earths natural resources. This challenge poses a significant challenge to structural engineers. To mitigate the impact of these events, structural engineering practices must evolve to embrace resilient design principles that prioritise safety, durability, and adaptability. By incorporating these principles into their work, structural engineers can help communities not only survive but thrive in the face of a changing climate. It is imperative that we act swiftly to ensure the longevity and sustainability of our infrastructure in a world where extreme weather events are the new normal.


Here at Subteno we have signed up to the ‘UK Structural Engineers Declare Climate & Biodiversity Emergency’ to show our commitment to tackling these problems.


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