As part of its mission to develop near-term, practical solutions to problems faced by airport operators, the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) selected Gresham Smith as part of a team led by Dewberry to develop a tool and associated handbook that identifies potential impacts from climate change and assesses related airport risks. The tool and guidebook provide guidance for managing related uncertainty, developing a prioritized action plan, and implementing the plan as an adaptive management process.


Airport Cooperative Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Transportation Research Board


Washington, D.C.

Project Type


Guidance from the Council on Environmental Quality requires the FAA and other federal agencies to consider the impact of climate change when reviewing proposed projects. These effects are varied and pose diverse risks to airports, impacting multiple facets of operation. Higher levels of precipitation can overrun stormwater management systems, potentially flooding an airport or its ability to comply with water quality requirements. Extreme heat can affect engine performance, requiring longer runways, or it can increase terminal air conditioning demands. An increase in severe winter storms may also result in greater snow removal requirements at airports not previously impacted by snow.

The guidebook and tool includes the following:

Background information and justification for all size airports to understand the need to assess climate change risks.
A comprehensive list of potential impacts (direct and indirect) to airports and their regional environs from climate change, including potential secondary effects that may result from implementing certain adaptation actions.
A screening tool to determine the magnitude of impacts and risks from climate change as a preliminary evaluation.
An inventory of important elements and outputs of the assessment, including a template for developing and implementing the action plans.
A description, comparison and evaluation of existing adaptation planning frameworks (e.g., tools, models) that are currently available to airports for climate change assessment.

View/Purchase Climate Change Adaptation Planning: Risk Assessment for Airports on the Transportation Research Board’s website.


Project Contact

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Lauren Seydewitz, LEED AP BD+C
Lauren Seydewitz, LEED AP BD+C
Sustainability & Resiliency Program Manager