Transport infrastructure slope failures in a changing climate
thesisposted on 14.05.2015, 08:12 by Joanna H. Wilks
Failure of slopes adjacent to the UK transport infrastructure causes delays and these are expensive assets to repair and maintain. Understanding the processes that lead to failure will assist asset managers both now and in the future in the context of a changing climate. The EPSRC-funded multidisciplinary FUTURENET project investigated the effect of climate change on the resilience of the UK transport network and this thesis is a part of that project considering the weather patterns leading to slope failures along transport infrastructure slopes within the UK. To that end a series of slope failure case studies were investigated to understand the processes leading to failure. These were compiled using nationally held datasets as well as news reports. This research used data from the FUTURENET partners that hold national data sets and asset management information. This shows the wide reaching remit of a multidisciplinary collaborative project such as FUTURENET, but also highlights the limitations of datasets collected and used for very specific purposes and not necessarily suited to wider research. From these case studies a suite of slope failure weather thresholds were developed. These thresholds consider the antecedent period, water content within the slope through the soil moisture deficit and triggering rainfall through comparison to the long term average rainfall. Consideration was given to possible future weather using weather event sequences (WESQs), possible weather patterns for 2050 derived from the UKCP09 climate projection data. By considering these possible weather patterns with the slope failure thresholds a picture of a possible future was evaluated.
- Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering