Combating climate change and extreme weather on coastal areas
The pioneering Hong Kong Coastal Adaptation Program is a series of defense measures based on a study commissioned to fully assess the impact of climate change and extreme weather conditions on coastal areas. In April 2019, the Hong Kong Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) commissioned us to undertake a feasibility study of coastal hazards under climate change and extreme weather, with the aim of formulating improvement measures. This included:
- Identification of potential study areas affected by extreme weather in Hong Kong;
- Reviewing the sea level rise, rainfall intensity and extreme wind speed due to climate change;
- Typhoon and wave modelling simulation and analysis;
- Assessment of coastal hazards and risks;
- Review of the adequacy and capacity of the existing coastal structures;
- Formulation of enhancement plans for climate resilience;
- Review and update of Port Works Design Manual.
A novel approach to typhoon and wave modeling
Developed in response to the 2017 and 2018 Typhoons Hato and Mangkut, our novel typhoon and wave modeling approach combined terrestrial runoff and ocean modeling, including data on tides, current, winds, severe weather patterns, and rainfall, as well as ocean flow and its impacts on the land it touches.
This is a massive amount of data that many oceanfront cities are struggling to combine. The benefit of having complementary modeling is that it enables us to reliably forecast future scenarios and implement low carbon and nature-based solutions (NbS), including the introduction of unique low carbon materials that provide better outcomes for cities moving forward. Our modeling work has helped create realistic implementation guidelines with lower carbon solutions and has generated positive feedback for inclusion in local design guidelines.
Continuing to deliver for Hong Kong’s shoreline
The results and recommendations of the study were unveiled to the public on 7 April 2022. This is a holistic study for Hong Kong, recommending improvement works and management measures to enhance the capability of the coastal areas to respond to extreme weather and climate change. The Hong Kong Financial Secretary has announced earmarked funding in the 2022-23 Budget Speech to take our recommendations forward for 26 coastal low-lying or windy residential areas that are prone to high coastal risks in a timely and orderly manner.
As a continuation of our thought leadership position for climate change resilience, we are working on the follow-up Shoreline Management Plan study, with a view to providing guidelines for land use and planning of coastal development. These guidelines will be used to formulate suitable long-term strategies and protection measures, and to strengthen the capabilities of the Hong Kong Government and relevant stakeholders in coping with climate change.