Airport pavements resilience to climate change

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University of New Brunswick


Since the industrial revolution, there have been greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels. From that point onwards, the atmosphere started getting polluted with such gases causing the world to exhibit notable changes in the climate. The environment and infrastructure have been affected by this climate change, and airports are no exception. The aim of this research is to present the potential effects of climate change on airport pavements in Canada. Several factors, such as maximum and minimum temperatures, intensity and frequency of precipitation, number of freeze-thaw cycles and wind direction, were considered. The research findings indicate that airports are also impacted by climate change, and the airport authorities should acknowledge the effect on pavement structures. A case study on the Fredericton International Airport (YFC) was examined to analyze climate change in the city and how it affects the airport infrastructure. YFC is experiencing an increase in days of maximum temperature and precipitation intensity and frequency. The number of freeze-thaw cycles is expected to decrease because of fewer cold days and longer summers. Hence, the airport could be susceptible to rutting due to high temperatures in the summer and cracking due to the weakening resulting from an increased moisture content of the supporting soils. Airport authorities should consider adaption strategies to prevent further damage to their pavement infrastructure.