Research Projects

Update to Report 160: Addressing Significant Weather Impacts on Airports In Reserve

The data in the original report and supporting the tool is from 1990-2000, and airports need guidance and information based on the latest climate data to accurately assess risk and plan mitigation strategies. This research update idea was developed as part of project ACRP 11-02/39, Environmental Products Update and is one of the priorities identified by the research team and through industry outreach.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

The original project (02-49) sought to raise airport operator awareness about vulnerabilities caused by significant weather events. The associated Airport Weather Advanced REadiness (AWARE) Toolkit enables airports to develop more robust contingency and recovery plans, in addition to airport emergency plans. The Toolkit focuses on events that are "rare but plausible"; that is, events that may have happened in the distant past, or in adjacent geographic areas, but are not common event types at the airport itself, and therefore may not be in the forefront of the airport managers' minds. The Quick Start Guide provides guidance for using the Toolkit. The original publication also includes multiple airport case studies providing real-world examples.

Significant weather and climate change impacts are of national interest and resiliency is a hot topic in recent years with frequent impacts to airports occurring from extreme weather events. Extreme weather events, including but not limited to hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, heat waves, snowstorms, and heavy precipitation, have increased in frequency and intensity as the climate continues to change. Although storms vary by type and region, this topic is broadly applicable to airports of all sizes throughout country. This topic has been identified as a priority of the incoming Biden Administration as well. Airports need guidance and information based on the latest climate data, and although this report was published in 2016, the data supporting the tool is from 1990-2000. The AWARE toolkit needs improvements to enhance user experience, and would benefit from an updated spreadsheet that will be easier to use/access or moving the data/functions to a web-based tool.

This update should consider links to Report 147 - Assessing Climate Risk (and the ACROS tool).

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

The guidance is still relevant, but the historical weather data, climate data, data sources and case studies should be refreshed in the AWARE Toolkit – specifically the Exposure Information Model, to provide airports with the most accurate information for determining risk and readiness. Airport case studies should be updated or expanded to incorporate more recent data on financial impacts of severe weather. ACRP may consider combining the update of the AWARE toolkit with an update to ACRP Report 147, specifically the ACROS tool, as both require updated climate data and references. AWARE toolkit user experience should be improved.

Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

• Original project cost: $200,000 (value today adjusting for inflation is approximately $262,000)

• Estimated cost range to update: $150,000-200,000

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

• ACRP Synthesis 60: Airport Emergency Post-Event Recovery Practices

• ACRP Synthesis 78: Continuity of Operations Planning for Small Airports

• ACRP Report 123: A Guidebook for Airport Winter Operations

• Several Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and updated climate models, General Circulation Models

Idea No. 676