Project

Climate Resilient Airports

Goal: Airports need to understand the risks and initiate adaptation measures for both existing and new infrastructure, as well as managing critical operations to become more resilient to the changing climate.

Following cities, most of the major airports are situated in densely populated areas, next to rivers, in deltas and alongside coasts. And since airports require flat areas they are often constructed on reclaimed land, like former lakes, riverbeds, new built landfills, close or under sea level. Due to their fixed infrastructure and vulnerability to disruptive weather, airports are particularly at risk creating both an operational and business risk.

Date: 1 January 2015

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Nanco Dolman
added a research item
More extreme weather and climate-related events are expected as the climate continues to change. The increasing ferquency, intensity, and duration of extreme weather events as well as the gradual socio-economic effects of climate change will have an impact on airports. Many will be vulnerable as the risks of flooding, flight disruptions and cancellations become more likely. Airports need to understand the risks and initiate adaptation measures, for both existing and new infrastructure, as well as manage critical operations so they become more resilient to the changing climate. A climate-resilient airport takes steps to prepare for the challenges that climate change and extreme weather events might bring. Airport planning should consider the risks and impacts associated with climate change and actively plan for future climate conditions. Airports should conduct "climate stress tests" and risk assessments, develop mitigation measures and communication channels, and take climate resilience and adaptation into consideration for their master plans. ICAO has established the following short list of the type of climate hazards that may have to be planned for: (i) Changing climatic conditions (temperature change, precipitation, storm intensity), (ii) Sea level rise, (iii) Desertification.
Nanco Dolman
added a research item
Climate change risk is a growing concern in aviation, considering the effects of sea-level rise, storm surges, increase of extreme rainfall, changes in wind patterns, increase of average and maximum temperatures, increase in the number of extreme weather events and increase in lightning strikes. In its 2016 Environmental Report, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) warned that rising temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions will increasingly affect the ability of aircraft to take off. This is already evident in certain places around the world; flights out of Phoenix, Arizona have reportedly been cancelled when daytime temperatures are projected to climb to as high as 120°F (49°C), making it unsafe for smaller regional aircraft. Similar to high-altitude airports lift-off limits at hot-weather will reduce aircraft operations. Following cities, most of the major airports are situated in densely populated areas, in deltas, close to rivers alongside coasts. Due to their vulnerability to disruptive weather, over twenty major international airports suffered from flooding in the last five years, including Bangkok Don Mueang Airport which was severely affected by the 2011 Thailand floods caused by heavy rainfall in the catchment of the Chao Phraya river. Other airports were affected by coastal flooding due to high sea water levels, such as LaGuardia Airport in New York during hurricane Sandy. The likelihood of such calamities is expected to increase, exacerbating the impact on already affected airports as well as putting at risk those which have so far not experienced adverse effects caused by climate change. Given the significant value of the asset base at a typical medium to large scale airport which can run into the billions, combined with the complexity and interdependency of the various airport systems and supply networks, this situation is undesirable.
Nanco Dolman
added a research item
Climate change risk is a growing concern in aviation, considering the effects of sea-level rise, storm surges, increase of extreme rainfall, changes in wind patterns, increase of average and maximum temperatures, increase in the number of extreme weather events and increase in lightning strikes. In its 2016 Environmental Report , the International Civil Aviation Organization warned that rising temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions will increasingly affect the ability of aircraft to take off. The likelihood of climatic extremes is expected to increase, exacerbating the impact on already affected airports as well as putting at risk those which have so far not experienced adverse effects caused by climate change. Given the significant value of the asset base at a typical medium to large scale airport which can run into the billions, combined with the complexity and interdependency of the various airport systems and supply networks, this situation is undesirable. One airport which is seizing the opportunity to build resilience to climate change into its airport planning is Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the Netherlands. A low-lying airport built on reclaimed land in the Polder Haarlemmermeer, which faces water challenges daily. Schiphol’s situation is extreme; Europe's most preferred airport is situated approximately 4.5 meters below sea level.
Nanco Dolman
added an update
2022 just started, and our 'Climate Resilient Airports' publication is finally made available as chapter in 'The Palgrave Handbook of Climate Resilient Societies', edited by Robert C. Brears, currently available online and as a paper copy at Palgrave Macmillan: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-42462-6. The handbook is a collaboration of 80+ authors and provides a comprehensive overview of global attempts to create climate-resilient societies, showcases invaluable surveys of key themes and challenges and reports on bestpractices and lessons learned.
We had the opportunity to contribute to this great handbook with a chapter entitled 'Keeping Airports Open in Times of Climatic Extremes: Planning for Climate Resilient Airports' (section V 'Transport', pages 1015-1038).
Thanks to my co-authors (Vivekanandhan Sindhamani and Peter Vorage) for all the work, and editor-in-chief, Robert C. Brears and all staff at Palgrave Macmillan who have been assisting us with the chapter.
 
Nanco Dolman
added an update
Glad to share our chapter on 'Climate Resilient Airports'. Now available online in 'The Palgrave Handbook of Climate Resilient Societies'. Very proud of teamwork at Royal HaskoningDHV and NACO. Hope this can be of help to airports and aviation community, as well as researchers.
 
Nanco Dolman
added an update
On 19 April 2021 the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) released the Eco-Airport Toolkit e-collection, which provides practical & ready-to-use information to support the development of airport infrastructure projects. The collection includes new e-publications on:
Delighted to have been contributed as an Airport Council International (ACI) representative. E.g. the 'water sensitive airports' framework applied at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol available at:
Find out more about the Eco-Airport Toolkit e-collection: https://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/pages/ecoairports.aspx
 
Nanco Dolman
added a research item
Airports play an important role in economic growth and are essential hubs for connectivity and trade. With the growth of urban areas, air traffic is increasing consistently, marking the development of regions such as South-East Asia and others. Following cities, most of the major airports are situated in densely populated areas, next to rivers, in deltas and alongside coasts. Many of these urbanized areas are vulnerable to water extremes, which are increased by the effects of climate change, such as sea-level rise, higher temperatures, and greater weather extremes. To protect vital infrastructure and ensure future service continuity for airport operations, it is necessary to develop resilience to such risks. Several airports have recognized the threat posed by floods and have started work on flood protection efforts. Planning for climate resilient airports is not just about protecting infrastructure from flooding. It is also about enabling airports to become more sustainable and improve local climate and energy management – something which airports are going to have to embrace if they are to survive.
Nanco Dolman
added a research item
Schiphol airport is continuously adapting and building flexible to keep track of the changing volume of cargo and number of passengers. The expansions and modifications of the airport infrastructure affect the water system on the airport premises. Achieving a safe water system in control, we have to prevent nuisance or even flooding by measuring up the water assignment as the required storage capacity. Storage and discharge are exchangeable. Storm water runoff that we cannot discharge needs to be stored temporarily in the system; and we will have to discharge runoff we cannot store because of a lack of storage capacity. Dealing with storm water runoff means that we will have the handle this water either way. That is why the required storage capacity does not only depend on the runoff intensity, but also on the discharge capacity. As designers we would like to see how the relation between the required storage capacity and the discharge capacity looks like. To coordinate the relationships between the many spatial development plans and the consequences for the amount of storage in the water system, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AAS) makes use of the ‘Water Accounting’ agreement with the local water board Hoogheemraadschap van Rijnland (Rijnland for short). Thanks to the water accounting agreement, AAS will now no longer have to compensate for every square meter of paved surface built by immediately creating equivalent extra water storage. In accordance with the policy of Rijnland the required storage capacity is preferably realized as functional open water as part of the surface water system. Depending on the design of the water system (waterways, ditches and water bodies), the standing surface water system has a potential bird-attracting effect and negative impact on flight safety by BASH (Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard). The water accounting or BRC (BergingsRekening Courant) Schiphol makes the realization of storm water storage alternatives possible. Moreover, this fits the "doing more with (rain) water” ambition of the Schiphol Water Management Strategy 2015 (Royal Haskoning, December 2010). This includes the desire to achieve less functional open water as part of the future water system attracting fewer birds.
Nanco Dolman
added 2 research items
Airports play an important role in economic growth and are essential hubs for connectivity and trade. With the growth of urban areas, air traffic is increasing consistently, marking the development of regions such as South-East Asia and others. Following cities, most of the major airports are situated in densely populated areas, next to rivers, in deltas and alongside coasts. Many of these urbanised areas are vulnerable to water extremes, which are increased by the effects of climate change, such as sea-level rise, higher temperatures and greater weather extremes. To protect vital infrastructure and ensure future service continuity for airport operations, it is necessary to develop resilience to such risks. Several airports have recognised the threat posed by floods and have started work on flood protection efforts. Some airports are seizing the opportunity to implement climate resilient airport planning. This paper presents one of these frontrunner airports: a whole-of-government adaptation pathway for Singapore Changi Airport.
Airports play an important role in economic growth and are essential hubs for connectivity and trade. With growth of urban areas air traffic is increasing consistently, marking the development of regions such as South-East Asia, South America and others. Following cities, most of the major airports are situated in densely populated areas, next to rivers, in deltas and alongside coasts. Many of these urbanized areas are vulnerable to water extremes which are increased by the effects of climate change. Given the important roles of airports in development as well as during disasters and hazards, planning for resiliency is critical. This is a plea for water sensitive airports, based on our decade-long involvement to create a strong and resilient Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the Netherlands. A low-lying airport, in a polder, which faces water challenges on a daily basis.
Nanco Dolman
added 3 research items
Airports play an important role in economic growth and are essential hubs for connectivity and trade. Worldwide passenger traffic grew by 6.8% in 2015 (ICAO) so the importance of airports being ready to deal with these passengers as the first meeting point in a particular country is key. Following cities, most of the major airports are situated in densely populated areas, next to rivers, in deltas and alongside coasts. Many of these urbanized areas are vulnerable to water extremes which are increased by the effects of climate change. Given the important roles of airports in development as well as during disasters and hazards, planning for resiliency is critical. This is a plea for Water Sensitive Airports, based on our decade-long involvement to create a strong and resilient Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the Netherlands. A low-lying airport, in a polder, which faces water challenges on a daily basis.
Research on rainwater harvesting mainly focuses on a building scale. Scant information is available about its performance at large scale. This study aims to determine the potential for, and economic viability of meeting non-potable water demand by rainwater harvesting for a large scale case (21.5 km2): Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. A dynamic model was developed to analyse scenarios of varying rainfall, catchment surfaces and storage capacity. Four potential system configurations of catchments and non-potable uses were analysed for their economic performance with different water prices and storage options. This study found that, given sufficient storage and catchment size, all non-potable water demand of Schiphol can be supplied, reducing drinking water demand by up to 58%. Diminishing returns for adding storage and catchment to the system make full supply inefficient. Current water charges make most large scale system configurations not viable due to high investment costs for supply networks and storage infrastructure.
Voor een effectieve bescherming van beschikbare (zoet)waterbronnen is het opvangen en benutten van regenwater op regionale schaal noodzakelijk, evenals het vergroten van de regionale zelfvoorzienendheid. Deze studie op het terrein van luchthaven Schiphol laat zien dat regenwateropvang van verschillende oppervlakten haalbaar is, maar dat voor volledige dekking een vrij grote berging noodzakelijk is.
Nanco Dolman
added a research item
The CRA framework has been developed as part of the Schiphol Water Vision 2030, and was inspired by the three pillars of ‘Water Sensitive Cities’ framework (Brown et al, 2009).
Nanco Dolman
added an update
All too often, the need to plan for the effects of climate change on airports is overlooked in favour of tackling more immediately measurable problems such as emissions, air quality and noise. Yet, in the past five years, over 20 major and many more small island airports have flooded due to a rise in sea level, storm surges or extreme rainfall. These include the devastation of Kansai airport by Typhoon Jebi (2018); severe rainfall in Kerala (2019) leading to the shutdown of Cochin airport; flooding at Don Mueang Airport in Thailand (2011) resulting in a year of disruption; and the shutdown of airports in the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian (2019).
Lack of climate resiliency planning could have a massive impact on large airports, the companies that rely on them and the surrounding cities, as well as on the small island states where the airport is the main economic driver and a critical asset during disaster responses.
Also, too little water can cause issues. From cooling systems to plane washing and passenger needs, airports have huge water footprints which can significantly affect regional water supplies and result in major operational challenges during periods of shortage. This demand is set to rise as the trend towards mega-airports and the proliferation of small island airports continues. Airports must seek to reduce their water footprint through the collection, treatment and reuse of water and strive towards the ideal of closed water systems.
 
Nanco Dolman
added 6 research items
‘Water Accounting’ involves keeping account of the amount of water storage in order to prevent flooding during the many infrastructural and development projects.
Voor een effectieve bescherming van beschikbare (zoet)waterbronnen is het opvangen en benutten van regenwater op regionale schaal noodzakelijk, evenals het vergroten van de regionale zelfvoorzienendheid. Deze studie op het terrein van luchthaven Schiphol laat zien dat regenwateropvang van verschillende oppervlakten haalbaar is, maar dat voor volledige dekking een vrij grote berging noodzakelijk is.
Nanco Dolman
added a research item
Ports and airports play an important role in economic growth and are essential hubs for connectivity and trade. Many major ports and airports are situated in densely-populated urban areas, next to rivers, in deltas and alongside coasts. For example the sea ports of Europoort in the Rhine–Meuse estuary, Felixstowe in the English Midlands, Valparaiso in Chile and the international airports of Amsterdam Schiphol below sea level, London Heathrow in the Thames estuary, Singapore Changi in the South China Sea. Most of these urban areas are vulnerable to water extremes that are increased by the effects of climate change. Cities around the world have been developing measures relating to water crises, climate change and urbanisation, but there has been insufficient progress with implementation. Major airports, as well as ports and large industrial areas, play an important role in the implementation of climate adaptation and mitigation measures in urbanised delta areas. Because of their roles in economic development of countries and their potential to take a lead, airports are in a position to be ambassadors in making areas more resilient.
Nanco Dolman
added a project reference
Nanco Dolman
added a project goal
Airports need to understand the risks and initiate adaptation measures for both existing and new infrastructure, as well as managing critical operations to become more resilient to the changing climate.
Following cities, most of the major airports are situated in densely populated areas, next to rivers, in deltas and alongside coasts. And since airports require flat areas they are often constructed on reclaimed land, like former lakes, riverbeds, new built landfills, close or under sea level. Due to their fixed infrastructure and vulnerability to disruptive weather, airports are particularly at risk creating both an operational and business risk.