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Framework for modeling and assessing anthropogenic influence on built and natural environments in a changing climate

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Abstract

Human-caused changes in water use, emissions, and land cover have increasingly impacted the natural and built environments. As a result, the natural hydrologic cycle has been disrupted, causing changes in the quantity and quality of water, extreme events (i.e., droughts and floods), and the ecosystem. Further, the warming climate has increased variability in the frequency and/or intensity of climatic hazards, elevating the complexity of water resources management and infrastructure systems planning and risk assessment. This study explores the human influence on extreme events and the resulting impacts on the built environment and infrastructure systems. Specifically, this dissertation addressed the following main objectives: (1) Evaluate compounding effects of meteorological drought and unsustainable water resource management contributing to catastrophic environmental degradation; (2) Investigate the notion of anthropogenic flood events where human disruptions have caused or intensified flood risk to unprecedented levels; and (3) Evaluate performance (i.e., factor of safety) of water infrastructure under anthropogenic climate change, and propose adaptive strategies toward climate-ready infrastructure systems. We investigate major historical drought and flood events in which human activities have led to substantial regional impacts/losses. Then, we introduce frameworks for evaluating infrastructure performance under future climate projections and offer a path forward for climate-ready infrastructure planning and risk assessment. Finally, a conceptual iterative design framework is presented to show how the proposed adaptive design concept can be employed in practice.

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This item is under embargo until September 28, 2024.