The impact of extreme weather and climate change on inland waterway transport

Similarly to other modes of transport, inland waterway transport has to deal with weather events, affecting navigation conditions and the infrastructure on inland waterways. Most significant extreme weather events result from high precipitation, droughts and temperatures below zero degrees Celsius. Heavy rainfall, in particular in association with snow melt, may lead to floods resulting in suspension of navigation and causing damage to the inland waterway infrastructure as well as the property and health of human beings living in areas exposed to flooding. Long periods of drought may lead to reduced discharge and low water levels, limiting the cargo-carrying capacity of vessels and increasing the specific costs of transportation. Temperatures below zero degrees Celsius over a longer period may cause the appearance of ice on waterways, leading to suspension of navigation and possible damage to infrastructure, for example, buoys. Neither extreme weather events as well as climate change are new phenomena nor is their general occurrence expected to change suddenly. However, due to climate change, extreme weather events may change positively or adversely in severity and frequency of occurrence, depending on the respective weather event and the location of its occurrence. This paper gives an overview of the impact of extreme weather events on inland waterway transport in Europe, focused on the Rhine–Main–Danube corridor, followed by a discussion on how climate change will change these events and their impacts.


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  • Accession Number: 01528662
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 11 2014 12:58PM