Report: Airports Threatened By Climate Change

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Airport runways in coastal areas are in danger of being submerged by rising sea levels and storm surges brought on by global warming, says a new report from the National Research Council, released on Tuesday. At least 23 major airports, and many more GA fields, have elevations of just 22 feet or less, which puts them at risk, according to the report. Those airports are located along the U.S. East and West Coasts, the Gulf Coast, Alaska, and Puerto Rico.

Airports in areas of high elevation, such as Denver, may also be affected by an increase in hot days with high density altitudes. The report says "it is certain" that the costs of such changes will be "widespread and costly," and will require significant changes in the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the national airport system. Not all of the changes will be for the worse, however. Milder winter conditions would likely improve the safety record for rail, air and ships, the report concludes.