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A framework for performing comparative LCA between repairing flooded houses and construction of dikes in non-stationary climate with changing risk of flooding

Hennequin, Thomas, Sørup, Hjalte Jomo Danielsen, Dong, Yan, Arnbjerg-Nielsen, Karsten
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.642 pp. 473-484
Monte Carlo method, case studies, climate, climate change, flood control, life cycle assessment, prediction, risk, sea level, uncertainty, urban areas, Denmark
Sustainable flood management is a basic societal need. In this article, life cycle assessment is used to compare two ways to maintain the state of a coastal urban area in a changing climate with increasing flood risk. On one side, the construction of a dike, a hard and proactive scenario, is modelled using a bottom up approach. On the other, the systematic repair of houses flooded by sea surges, a post-disaster measure, is assessed using a Monte Carlo simulation allowing for aleatory uncertainties in predicting future sea level rise and occurrences of extreme events. Two metrics are identified, normalized mean impacts and probability of dike being most efficient. The methodology is applied to three case studies in Denmark representing three contrasting areas, Copenhagen, Frederiksværk, and Esbjerg. For all case studies the distribution of the calculated impact of repairing houses is highly right skewed, which in some cases has implications for the comparative LCA. The results show that, in Copenhagen, the scenario of the dike is overwhelmingly favorable for the environment, with a 43 times higher impact for repairing houses and only 0% probability of the repairs being favorable. For Frederiksværk and Esbjerg the corresponding numbers are 5 and 0.9 times and 85% and 32%, respectively. Hence constructing a dike at this point in time is highly recommended in Copenhagen, preferable in Frederiksværk, and probably not recommendable in Esbjerg.