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James W. Sewall

 

Photos courtesy of the National Weather Service, Caribou, Maine

 

Climate & weather


The Challenge

One of the greatest challenges facing society is adjusting to the potential effects of climatic change such as increased frequency of large storms. Various impacts of a warmer climate have been recorded, from rising sea level associated with melting glaciers and expansion of warmer ocean waters to a greater frequency and/or magnitude of extreme weather and climatic events, such as hurricanes, nor'easters (winter coastal storms), droughts and heat waves. Not only can such changes have a severe effect on a community's infrastructure, but they can also modify natural ecosystems, sometimes permanently.

Many municipalities and state agencies are planning for the possibility of different conditions in the future that can affect water supply, roads and drainage systems, and for the application of innovative low impact development (LID) and stormwater management solutions that will mitigate the problem.

The Solutions

Sewall can assess various aspects of extreme weather events arising from climate change. We help our clients:

  • Evaluate sea level rise in coastal areas using LIDAR, available maps and web-based GIS tools (where available) to predict the impact under different sea level scenarios. Tidal gauge records are also available to assist in the evaluation of infrastructure and ecosystem loss.

The Benefits

With the information we provide, government officials, municipalities, and stakeholders can:

  • Make informed decisions based on the economics of dealing with extreme events
  • Manage forests with greater understanding of the impacts of changing climatic conditions on forest cycles and of new forest practices that address this issue
  • Support zoning and development ordinances to mitigate the effect of climate change
  • Design culverts and road crossings based on precipitation events to prevent wash-outs with major storms
  • Prepare for the possible impacts of sea level rise and the resulting loss of infrastructure and associated costs

More Info

Environmental sciences

Stormwater utilities (PDF)

Residential stormwater management (PDF)

Stormwater planning and stream crossing for municipalities (PDF)

Water/wastewater engineering

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Contact

Scott Graham, PE
Vice President
207 478 9509
scott.graham@sewall.com
 

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