Climate Change

While the debate about the causes of climate change continues, the need to protect our infrastructure and prepare for droughts, floods, and major storms has always been a priority for the NHDOT.

Federal Guidance

FHWA has developed planning tools to facilitate consideration of climate change impacts in transportation systems design, including consideration of heat, precipitation, sea-level rise and storm surge.

  • Hydraulic Engineering Circular No. 17 (HEC-17), ""Highways in the River Environment: Extreme Events, Risk and Resilience"
  • The HEC-17 manual, released in 2016, is a major and significant update that provides technical guidance and methods for assessing the nexus of riverine and transportation as it relates to floods, floodplain policies, extreme events, climate change, risks, and resilience. An important focus is quantifying exposure to extreme flood events considering climate change and other factors.
  • Hydraulic Engineering Circular No. 25 (HEC-25) – Volume 2, Highways in the Coastal Environment: Assessing Extreme Events” The HEC-25 manual, released in 2014, provides technical guidance and methods for assessing the vulnerability of coastal transportation facilities to extreme events and climate change. The focus is on quantifying exposure to sea level rise, storm surge, and wave action. It is anticipated that there will be multiple uses for this information, including risk and vulnerability assessments, planning activities, and design procedure guidance.
  • In 2012 FHWA developed the Climate Change and Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework, a voluntary process to help transportation agencies assess transportation asset vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather events. It recommends key steps to be followed in conducting vulnerability assessments and incorporating results into decision-making and provides modules and tools to aid in the assessment process. The framework encourages incorporating the results of the vulnerability assessment into the agency’s decision-making process to ensure that the information is used in practice.

From the USGS, coastlines are constantly changing landscapes that pose fascinating science questions as well as unique management challenges. The National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards (NACCH) provides robust scientific findings that help to identify areas that are most vulnerable to diverse coastal change hazards including beach and dune erosion, long-term shoreline change, and sea-level rise. Through extensive observation, modeling and prediction of these processes, scientists gauge how U.S. shores have historically shifted, and how past changes will affect their vulnerability to future hazards.

As the Nation's largest and oldest manager of water resources, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has long been successfully adapting its policies, programs, projects, planning, and operations to impacts from important drivers of global change and variability. Several climate change adaptation activities are available.

The U.S. EPA provides basic information to learn more about the signs of climate change in the United States.

NOAA is a source of timely and authoritative scientific data and information about climate. Their goals are to promote public understanding of climate science and climate-related events, to make our data products and services easy to access and use, to provide climate-related support to the private sector and the Nation’s economy, and to serve people making climate-related decisions with tools and resources that help them answer specific questions.

NOAA’s National Water Model (NWM) enhances and expands NOAA’s water flow forecasts to 2.7 million stream locations nationwide. The NWM provides high-resolution forecasts of soil moisture, surface runoff, snow water equivalent, and other parameters.