Vulnerability of the ports of the St. Lawrence to climate change

The research results will help to lay the foundations of a new culture of mitigation, adaptation and maritime and port innovation in Québec in the face of climate change by intensifying collaborations with the maritime and port industry.

Project details
Scientific program
2014-2019 programming
Theme(s) and priority(s)
Water Management
Start and duration
July 2017 • May 2020
Project Status
Completed
 
Principal(s) investigator(s)
Claude Comtois
Université de Montréal

Context

The ports of the St. Lawrence River, along with their operations and infrastructure (shipping activities, loading/unloading, engineering structures and buildings such as dikes and reservoirs, warehouses, wharves, etc.), are vulnerable to the combined action of anthropogenic interventions and climate change.

While the influence of human intervention is well documented, knowledge about the specific impacts of climate change on several aspects relating to the infrastructure, operations and management of port systems remains limited and diffuse. As a result, it is difficult to apprehend the magnitude of these risks and prioritize interventions.

An in-depth analysis of the most significant risks and potential adaptation measures will lead to a better understanding of the strategic positioning of Québec’s ports in relation to the port system of northeastern North America.

Objectives

  • Establish a state of knowledge and an analysis framework for more in-depth evaluation of the risks associated with climate change;

  • Produce a state of knowledge of the potential impacts of climate change on port activities and systems along the St. Lawrence River and develop an analysis framework for the associated risks.

Methodology

  • Carry out a literature review;

  • Identify geophysical, social, climatic and environmental aspects in relation to port infrastructure;

  • Contextualize the current state of port infrastructure;

  • Set up a model that includes port components and activities;

  • Apply climate trends to the port model;

  • Evaluate risk factors.

Results

This project identified the climatic and environmental parameters that affect port systems, analyzed the environmental and climatic risks and vulnerabilities of St. Lawrence ports, and improved expertise on maritime and port transportation in relation to climate change.

 

 

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Benefits for adaptation

Benefits for adaptation

The project established a diagnosis that will allow better targeting of climate change issues.

The research results will help to lay the foundations of a new culture of mitigation, adaptation and maritime and port innovation in Québec in the face of climate change by intensifying collaborations with the maritime and port industry.

A better understanding of climate change impacts will be useful to the maritime and port industry to enable strategic and integrated planning of port management along the St. Lawrence River.

Other participants

  • Concordia University

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