Breakwater Reliability Assessment by Climate Change
Coastal infrastructures are particularly vulnerable to climate change effects. Ports and harbours, among them, will be especially affected because of their inherent long-life cycles, the high exposure of coastal localizations, the global market dependency, and the pre-established and very restrictive downtime thresholds. Expected sea level and storm energy rise, will change the structural and hydrodynamic response of actual harbours. This is especially important since traditional harbour design does not take into account the dynamic response of the structure along its life-cycle. In addition, impacts and changes experienced by harbour structures are not commonly considered by Port Authorities. Hence, each part of the harbour structures design should be undertaken by including their future structural evolution, and future design protocol should include climate change effects.
This project will quantify the previously mentioned climate change effects on harbour structures, focusing on rubble-mound breakwaters, in order to obtain the variation of failure probability due to climate change. This study will offer a chance to establish adaptation planning for harbours and ports. The proposed analysis will cover different scientific stages, mainly based on innovative probabilistic methods for breakwater design (level III). This strategy will limit uncertainties and will improve the quantification of the reliability of changes on these structures due climate change effects.
Current state-of-the art stage about probabilistic design of coastal/harbour structures shows important gaps, focus on the lack of consistency in the application of climate change drivers criteria and a weak insight into the derived reliability effects. Current designs should make use of analytical formulations and numerical tools to include the triggering of local damage, its evolution and the link between the different failure modes that could appear. The objective of the project is to contribute to the current state-of-the art, including an innovative coastal structure vulnerability and risk assessment. It will be accomplished with the development of new algorithms, statistical tools, and cutting-edge numerical models which include the long term met-ocean evolution in the breakwater design, the geometrical response of the structure and the dynamic reliability effects.
Additionally, we propose an extensive laboratory test. This test will measure and numerically validate the spatio-temporal behaviour of individual damage levels related to several failure modes. Armour unit stability at the outer rubble-mound layer and crown-wall static equilibrium will be studied. The final product will include a new set of probabilistic formulations with a direct technological transfer to real breakwater design, for public/private companies and port authorities, supported by specific ad hoc tools.