Climate change forecasts project up to 20% increase in precipitation for southern Ontario based on several climate change scenarios and models and an unpredictable change an average wind speed that may range from 5% reduction to 15% increase by the year 2100 compared to 1971 to 2000 reference period. Average annual air temperatures are predicted to increase between 2.5 and 3.7°C by 2050 from baseline average between 1961 and 1990.
This research studied the impact of climate change on bridge infrastructure using the Portage bridge on the Ottawa river in southern Ontario as a case study. Result shows that increase in precipitation due to climate change will cause 0.3m/s increase in stream velocity and about 0.85m increase in water level for a 100-year storm. This increase will result in scour depths at bridge piers to increase by 0.86 m while bending moments on piers increased by 21 kNm. Shear forces also increased by 43 kN.