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Structural Monitoring and Maintenance
  Volume 2, Number 1, March 2015, pages 49-64

Time-dependent reliability analysis of coastal defences subjected to changing environments
Hua-Peng Chen

    This paper presents a method for assessing the risk of wave run-up and overtopping of existing coastal defences and for analysing the probability of failure of the structures under future hydraulic conditions. The recent UK climate projections are employed in the investigations of the influence of changing environments on the long-term performance of sea defences. In order to reduce the risk of wave run-up and overtopping caused by rising sea level and to maintain the present-day allowances for wave run-up height and overtopping discharge, the future necessary increase in crest level of existing structures is investigated. Various critical failure mechanisms are considered for reliability analysis, i.e., erosion of crest by wave overtopping, failure of seaside revetment, and internal erosions within earth sea dykes. The time-dependent reliability of sea dykes is analysed to give probability of failure with time. The results for an example earth dyke section show that the necessary increase in crest level is approximately double of sea level rise to maintain the current allowances. The probability of failure for various failure modes of the earth dyke has a significant increase with time under future hydraulic conditions.
Key Words
    sea defences; lifetime performance assessment; climate change; time-dependent reliability
Hua-Peng Chen: School of Engineering, University of Greenwich, Chatham Maritime, Kent, ME4 4TB, UK

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