University of Iceland

The impact of global warming on transport and settlement

The impact of global warming on transport and settlement

A very interesting article by Trausti Valsson and Guðmundur Freyr Úlfarsson appeared in the prestigious Journal Future last year. We interviewed Valsson, asking him about the idea behind the study the article is based on. Valsson says that it all started with the book “How the World will Change – with Global Warming” which Valsson published in 2006. “At that point it was already clear that extensive research was required on the impact of global warming on transport, organization and construction,” says Valsson, who is Professor of Organisational Science at the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His associate in the study, Guðmundur Freyr Úlfarsson, holds a Professorship at the same faculty, his field is Transport Engineering.

“If global warming reaches the levels predicted, a shift in which areas are habitable and which not will occur,” says Valsson. “Regarding sea transport the melting ice on the North Pole will open up a new route to the Pacific Ocean. In this scenario Iceland becomes a more central part of the global sailing system,” says Valsson. He says that his and Úlfarsson’s students have worked on mapping in the context of this project for years and that the Icelandic Maritime Institute and the Sea ice department of the Icelandic Met Office have also provided invaluable assistance.

Research into the impact of global warming has mostly been focused on the natural world or specific localities. Till now little research has been done on the impact of global warming on settlement. The scientific community has hitherto to a large extent ignored these factors that will have a massive impact on all development concerning settlement and transport,” says Valsson.

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