TMI for urban resilience : measuring and mapping long-term climate change effects on soil moisture
Leao, Simone and Osman-Schlegel, N.Y. 2013, TMI for urban resilience : measuring and mapping long-term climate change effects on soil moisture, in AHRC 2013 : Housing the needs of diverse populations : Proceedings of the 2013 Australasian Housing Researchers' 2013 Conference, Curtin University, Fremantle, W.A., pp. 1-15.
The effect of climate change on the shallow expansive foundation conditions of resident dwellings is costing several hundred billion dollars worldwide. The design and costs of constructing or repairing residential footings is greatly influenced by the degree of ground movement, which is driven by the magnitude of change in soil moisture. The impacts of climate change on urban infrastructure are expected to include accelerated degradation of materials and foundations of buildings and facilities, increased ground movement, changes in ground water affecting the chemical structure of foundations, and fatigue of structures from extreme storm events. Previous research found that residential houses that were built less than five years ago have suffered major cracks and other damage caused by slab movement after record rainfall. The Thornthwaite Moisture Index (TMI) categorises climate on the basis of rainfall, temperature, potential evapotranspiration and the water holding capacity of the soil. Originally TMI was mainly used to map soil moisture conditions for agriculture but soon became a method to predict pavement and foundation changes. Few researchers have developed TMI maps for Australia, but generally, their accuracy is low or unknown, and their use is limited. The aims of this paper are: (1) To produce accurate maps of TMI for the state of Victoria for 100 years (1913 to 2012) in 20 year periods using long-term historical climatic data and advanced spatial statistics methods in GIS, and (2) Analyse the spatial and temporal changes of TMI in Victoria. Preliminary results suggest that a better understanding of climate change through long-term TMI mapping can assist urban planning and guide construction regulations towards the development of cities which are more resilient.
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