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Impacts of future sea level rise and high water on roads, railways and environmental objects

Examensarbetet använder analyser i geografiska informationssystem (GIS) för att utreda och visualisera samt ta fram statistik över effekter av framtida havsnivåer.

Författare: Emilie Arnesten
Handledare: Jan-Fredrik Wahlin och Peter Sieurin
Examinator: David Tennenbaum

Godkännandedatum: examensarbetet godkändes den 8 februari 2019
Examen utfärdades 11 mars 2019


Climate change caused by increasing emissions of greenhouse gases since the mid-19th century has amongst other things led to an increase in both melting of the cryosphere and thermal expansion in the oceans, which has caused the sea level to rise at an increasing rate over the last century. An increasing sea level could inundate land, roads and railways as well as environmental objects, and due to this, the Swedish Transport Administration incorporates climate change adaptation for e.g. sea level rise when constructing and maintaining both state owned roads and railways as well as their side areas.

This thesis uses analyses in geographical information systems to investigate and visualize as well as calculate the statistics of the effects of future sea level rise. Several potential future sea levels as well as the highest projected high water are included in the study, with the objective to locate state-owned roads, railways and environmental objects at risk of being inundated by an increasing sea level. Sea levels up to 5.0 meters above the current ocean level are analyzed in the thesis, with an interval of 0.5 meters, and divided into four long-duration and four short-duration risk levels, based on projected sea level rises on different horizons, with or without the addition of the highest projected high water in the study area.

This study focuses on the southernmost county of Sweden, Scania, where approximately 5 % of the total area is affected by the analyzed sea levels. An increasing sea level is found to mainly affect the coastal region of Scania, but some affected land areas stretch further inland. Environmental objects are at higher risk of inundation compared to road and railway features. The highest risk of inundation is found for species rich side areas to roads and railways as well as for both existing and needed fauna passages for medium sized fauna, while other investigated features are at lower to no risk of inundation.

The effect of different sea levels differs between different areas of Scania, and 21 of the 33 municipalities in the county are affected to some extent. The percentage of investigated features within each municipality is presented, as well as a detailed study of the two most affected municipalities, Kristianstad and Vellinge. The thesis concludes that several areas and features are subject to different levels of inundation risk and suggests how preventive action could be prioritized between both features and municipalities.

Impacts of future sea level rise and high water on roads, railways and environmental objects (pdf, 4 MB)