Ingenieur April-June 2016 Ingenieur Apr-June 2016 | Page 46

FEATURE INGENIEUR Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation for the Singapore-Malaysia High Speed Rail System By Sazrul Leena Binti Sa’adin, Malaysia Land Public Transport Commission, Sakdirat Kaewunruen & David Jaroszweski, Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, The University of Birmingham The Paris Agreement in late 2015 demonstrates global unity to set a goal for global warming reduction. It implies that the climate change is unequivocal, and globally the atmosphere and ocean are increasingly getting warmer, the amount of ice on the earth is decreasing over the oceans, and the sea level has risen. According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the total increase in globally averaged combined land and surface temperatures between the periods of 1850-1900 and 2003 to 2012 was 0.78ºC. (0.72 to 0.85ºC). But should we prepare for such a relatively small change? The importance is not the means of the warming but the considerable likelihood of climate change that could trigger extreme natural hazards. The risks, vulnerability of climate change associated with railway infrastructure in Malaysia and Singapore have not been fully addressed in literature due to the difference in local environmental parameters. On the other hand, the projected growth in Kuala Lumpur (>10 million people by 2020) and Singapore (>6 million people) enormously accelerates business activities between the two cities, including road, aviation, ports and rails. Thus, an effective, reliable and fast alternative like High Speed Rail is one of the most-efficient and environmental-friendly infrastructure. The current railway network in Malaysia, over the last decade, has been significantly affected by severe weather conditions such as rainfall, lightning, wind and very high temperatures. This article studies the climate change risks and presents adaptation strategies to climate change for the high speed rail system between Malaysia and Singapore. I n recent years, there has been increasing interest amongst policy makers across the globe in building High Speed Rail, including in Malaysia. In the creation of this new form of transportation, Malaysia needs to ensure that the new HSR will cope and adapt to climate change. In addition, the complexities of climate change and predictions of climate model outputs have introduced an additional measure of uncertainty for railroad operators1,2 . Extreme weather has affected railway operations and safety, includ