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Climate Change Information
Flood damaged road

While the debate about the causes of climate change continues, the need to protect our infrastructure and prepare for droughts, floods, and major storms has always been a priority for the NHDOT.

This page is intended to be a resource for residents, the NHDOT and other State Government agencies looking for reports, resources, and federal guidance on this issue.

In the News


NH Coastal Viewer Interactive Tools



Federal Guidance

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Guidance
FHWA has developed planning tools to facilitate consideration of climate change impacts in transportation systems design, including consideration of heat, precipitation, sea-level rise and storm surge.

  • July 2017 - FHWA Publication that synthesizes lessons learned and innovations from recent FHWA studies and pilots to help transportation agencies address changing climate conditions and extreme weather events at the asset level: Synthesis of Approaches for Addressing Resilience in Project Development.
  • Hydraulic Engineering Circular No. 17 (HEC-17), "Highways in the River Environment: Extreme Events, Risk and Resilience"
    The HEC-17 manual, released in 2016, is a major and significant update that provides technical guidance and methods for assessing the nexus of riverine and transportation as it relates to floods, floodplain policies, extreme events, climate change, risks, and resilience. An important focus is quantifying exposure to extreme flood events considering climate change and other factors.
  • Hydraulic Engineering Circular No. 25 (HEC-25) – Volume 2, “Highways in the Coastal Environment: Assessing Extreme Events” The HEC-25 manual, released in 2014, provides technical guidance and methods for assessing the vulnerability of coastal transportation facilities to extreme events and climate change. The focus is on quantifying exposure to sea level rise, storm surge, and wave action. It is anticipated that there will be multiple uses for this information, including risk and vulnerability assessments, planning activities, and design procedure guidance.
  • Post Hurricane Sandy Transportation Resilience Study in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut”, October 2017, This study leverages lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy and other recent events, as well as future climate projections, to identify strategies to reduce and manage extreme weather vulnerabilities amid the uncertainties of a changing climate. The report is intended to inform transportation agency efforts to address changing climate conditions and extreme weather events from a regional planning level to facility level assessments.
  • August 2, 2016 - The Council on Environmental Quality releases Final Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Reviews.
  • In 2012 FHWA developed the Climate Change and Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework, a voluntary process to help transportation agencies assess transportation asset vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather events. It recommends key steps to be followed in conducting vulnerability assessments and incorporating results into decision-making and provides modules and tools to aid in the assessment process. The framework encourages incorporating the results of the vulnerability assessment into the agency’s decision-making process to ensure that the information is used in practice.
  • In 2008, FHWA published the Highways in the Coastal Environment, Second Edition which reviews special factors to consider when designing transportation facilities in coastal areas, including areas prone to flooding and extreme events. The historical eustatic sea-level rise rate is reviewed as well as the possibility that these rates will accelerate as a consequence of ocean warming, however no recommended eustatic sea-level rise levels or scenarios for design purposes are provided.
  • FHWA’s Climate Change Adaptation website provides resources, tools, and guidance to help local and regional transportation agencies implement the FHWA Climate Change and Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework, a guide to assessing the vulnerability of transportation assets to climate change and extreme weather events. The FHWA also provides a Virtual Framework for Vulnerability Assessment – Modules.

In 2013 the U.S Department of Transportation Volpe National Transportation Systems Center and the Office of Research, Development and Technology published a report entitled, “Climate Change Adaptation Support for Transportation Practitioners.” The report lays the groundwork to support state and local practitioners as they proactively (or reactively) adapt to climate change impacts by:

  • Developing a comprehensive database of relevant resources
  • Categorizing and tagging those resources to make them more searchable
  • Developing an “Expert System” concept to help practitioners quickly identify the resources most relevant to them, through a step-by-step guided approach
  • Gathering feedback from USDOT agencies and practitioners to help refine the concept
  • Presenting the concept to USDOT agencies and assisting with implementation

The U.S. DOT Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse is designed as a one-stop source of information on transportation and climate change issues. This site contains Reports and studies that address how State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), transit agencies, and other transportation organizations are including climate change considerations in transportation decision making, including their specific approaches to integrating considerations of climate change impacts into transportation planning and decision making.

The Gulf of Maine Council Climate Network brings together planners and scientists from around the Gulf of Maine to raise awareness about climate impacts and inspire effective action in local communities — where residents experience first-hand the effects of changing conditions.

From the USGS, coastlines are constantly changing landscapes that pose fascinating science questions as well as unique management challenges. The National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards (NACCH) provides robust scientific findings that help to identify areas that are most vulnerable to diverse coastal change hazards including beach and dune erosion, long-term shoreline change, and sea-level rise. Through extensive observation, modeling and prediction of these processes, scientists gauge how U.S. shores have historically shifted, and how past changes will affect their vulnerability to future hazards.

As the Nation's largest and oldest manager of water resources, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has long been successfully adapting its policies, programs, projects, planning, and operations to impacts from important drivers of global change and variability. Several climate change adaptation activities are available.

The U.S. EPA provides basic information to learn more about the signs of climate change in the United States.

NOAA is a source of timely and authoritative scientific data and information about climate. Their goals are to promote public understanding of climate science and climate-related events, to make our data products and services easy to access and use, to provide climate-related support to the private sector and the Nation’s economy, and to serve people making climate-related decisions with tools and resources that help them answer specific questions.

NOAA’s National Water Model (NWM) enhances and expands NOAA’s water flow forecasts to 2.7 million stream locations nationwide. The NWM provides high-resolution forecasts of soil moisture, surface runoff, snow water equivalent, and other parameters.

New Hampshire Guidance and Activities:

In 2009, the Governor’s Climate Change Policy Task Force released the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan containing 10 overarching strategies necessary to meet the State’s greenhouse gas reduction and climate change related goals. The Plan describes in detail the benefits of planning for and adapting to climate change and how this may be achieved to minimize impacts to the economy, human health, natural systems, and infrastructure. The New Hampshire Climate Action Plan has helped guide many research and planning initiatives, policy decisions, and audits of the existing regulatory standards and procedures by State agencies to address climate change. The plan envisions that all stakeholders throughout the state would contribute to implementation of its recommendations.

In April 2014, the NHDOT published a report summarizing the Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Transportation Infrastructure. This document summarizes the Department’s assets, programs, policies, and activities (APPA), and proceeds to address their vulnerability to projected changes in climate through the end of the 21st century based on available information, and evaluate how climate change might impact these APPAs.

Other State Guidance and Activities:
The New Hampshire Coastal Adaptation Workgroup (NHCAW) is a collaboration of 22 partners and organizations working to help communities in southeastern New Hampshire prepare for the effects of extreme weather events and other effects of long term climate change. Since inception in 2010, NHCAW has led numerous projects and events that have elevated discussions about climate preparedness at municipal, state, and regional levels. NHCAW partners incorporate peer-reviewed science and research in the development of tools and technical guidance, and outreach in the coastal watershed to help communities better prepare for the effects of a changing climate in order to protect their social, economic, human and environmental health. For more information, refer to NHCAW’s website at

The Infrastructure & Climate Network (ICNet) is a network of over 60 academics, students, and practitioners who are dedicated to accelerating climate science and engineering research in the Northeastern United States. The ICNet focuses on climate change and sea level rise impacts and adaptation for sustainable bridges, roads, and transportation networks. The ICNet was established in October 2012 with support from the National Science Foundation. The ICNet is developing a variety of resources and tools related to climate change and infrastructure.

November 2016 - Preparing New Hampshire for Projected Storm Surge, Sea-Level Rise, and Extreme Precipitation.
Final Report and Recommendations by the NH Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission.

Sources of Projections of future climate and sea level:
The New Hampshire Coastal Viewer is an online mapping tool that brings coastal resources spatial data, hazards-related spatial data, and other spatial data sets within NH’s 42 coastal watershed communities together in one place. Users can search for available data sets; display the data sets in multiple ways; and create, print, and share customized maps. Overall, the goals of the Coastal Viewer are to serve as a one-stop shop for all coastal resources and hazards-related spatial data in NH’s coastal watershed; to improve access to new and existing spatial data sets; and to provide information about coastal resources, hazards, and opportunities to reduce risk from these hazards and increase coastal resiliency.

NOAA’s Global Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the U.S. National Climate Assessment

Climate Central’s Program on Sea Level Rise strives to provide accurate, clear and granular information about sea level rise and coastal flood hazards both locally and globally, today and tomorrow.

Websites of Interest

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

National Hurricane Center

New Hampshire Department of Transportation
PO Box 483 | 7 Hazen Drive | Concord, NH | 03302-0483
Tel: 603.271-3734 | Fax: 603.271.3914

copyright 2015. State of New Hampshire