"Sebastian allows us to run different scenarios based on different levels of sea rise, and see how the ports are affected," said Fischer. Using criteria in the Army Corps of Engineers manual, the model calculates the resources needed for each variation of the structure. It's a way to calculate big-picture, worldwide demand, Fischer said, but it also gives managers more reliable information about how much survivability they are buying when they invest in different types of protective structures.
Lack of oversight
Another difficult challenge in preparing for climate change at seaports is that no single agency or individual has sole authority over any given port, according to Becker. Some ports are privately owned, some are public and some are a mixture of both. And a broad range of entities from transportation companies to insurance companies to the Environmental Protection Agency have some stake in how they are managed. The arrangement greatly complicates ports' efforts to budget and plan for the future, according to the study.
But plan they must, said Fischer.
"By the end of the century, quite a few ports will be in trouble, even if you are using the most conservative estimates for sea level rise," he said. "And if you use the estimates at the top of the range, all of them will be in trouble."
|Contact: Mark Shwartz|