Disaster Management Manual
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You are here System stressors identified

System stressors include events such as floods (flash flood, coastal flood and dry day flooding), wildfires, earthquakes, thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, cyclones, drought, pandemic (transportation workforce), large scale transportation accidents/disasters affecting infrastructure by land (roadway, transit, railway), by sea (port, waterway/lock) and air (aviation).

California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) identified climate stressors ‘or hazards to infrastructure, public health and safety, natural systems, the economy, and other assets and systems that we rely on for a functional society. For Caltrans, the agency needed to consider which climate hazards would impact the State Highway System and its users. At the start of the vulnerability assessment, Caltrans met with internal and external subject matter experts to discuss which climate hazards could impact the highway system and why. Through these conversations, Caltrans focused the assessment on specific events and conditions that could present consequences to the state highway system.

Figure Vulnerability Assessment 1

Climate hazards assessed were:

  • Temperature Rise: Average minimum and maximum air temperature
  • Changing Precipitation: Change in precipitation during a 100-year storm event.
  • Wildfire: Expected areas burned over time.
  • Sea Level Rise: inundation from different sea level heights with annual storm events.
  • Storm Surge: Flooding from different sea level heights with a 100-year storm event.
  • Cliff Retreat: Expected erosion from different sea level rise heights.’ 1

Compound hazards encompassing urbanization, land use, cyber stresses and extreme climate events (i.e. rise in global temperature) also impact transportation.

The following graph from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) contains global temperatures during the ten warmest years on record: 2005, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 , 2020 and 2021. October 2021 ranked as the fourth-warmest October in 142 years, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The map below contains significant climate anomalies & events occurring globally during October 2021.

Figure NOAA October 2021

Below is a map of the world plotted with some of the most significant climate events that occurred during October 2021. 2

Figure October 2021 Global Significant Climate Events Map

Reference sources

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