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Is Our Infrastructure Ready For Rising Temperatures?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the all-the-more-reason-to-aircondition-the-outdoors dept.

Earth 416

Hugh Pickens writes "Megan Garber writes that last weekend, a US Airways flight taxiing for takeoff from Washington's Reagan National Airport got stuck on the tarmac for three hours because the tarmac had softened from the heat, and the plane had created — and then sunk into — a groove from which it couldn't, at first, be removed. So what makes an asphalt tarmac, the foundation of our mighty air network, turn to sponge? The answer is that our most common airport surface might not be fully suited to its new, excessively heated environment. One of asphalt's main selling points is precisely the fact that, because of its pitchy components, it's not quite solid: It's 'viscoelastic,' which makes it an ideal surface for the airport environment. As a solid, asphalt is sturdy; as a substance that can be made from — and transitioned back to — liquid, it's relatively easy to work with. And, crucially, it makes for runway repair work that is relatively efficient. But those selling points can also be asphalt's Achilles heel. Viscoelasticity means that the asphalt is always capable of liquefying. The problem, for National Airport's tarmac and the passengers who were stuck on it, was that this weekend's 100+-degree temperatures were a little less room temperature-like than they'd normally be, making the asphalt a little less solid that it would normally be. 'As ironic and as funny as the imgur seen round the world is, it may also be a hint at what's in store for us in a future of weirding weather. An aircraft sinking augurs the new challenges we'll face as temperatures keep rising.'"

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Nothing new (5, Insightful)

Narmi (161370) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608735)

Lots of bus stops where buses are expected to sit for a while are paved with concrete because of this problem. When it's really hot out, buses sink into asphalt.

Re:Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608935)

"Our Infrastructure" -- that is, the infrastructure in 1st world countries, is ready.
I don't know about DC, though...

Re:Nothing new (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608987)

Not sure what it is but the tarry substance they use to fill cracks in ashphalt often turns into a sticky, black, chewing gum like substance in the Aussie heat. The more modern roads (freways,ect) don't appear to use it. Some of the older freeways use concrete but concrete has problems too since it expands in the heat, the concrete freeways have expansion joints to compensate but I've seen concrete footpaths buckle in the heat so badly that kids were using it as a skateboard jump.

Re:Nothing new (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609089)

There are always alternative methods [wikimedia.org] of boarding the passengers.

Re:Nothing new (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609231)

Correction to the article, runways are made of thick concrete. Ramps and Taxiways are made of asphalt since they don't need to absorb the impact of an airplane landing gear traveling at 100+ MPH.

Re:Nothing new (4, Interesting)

SternisheFan (2529412) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609343)

Lots of bus stops where buses are expected to sit for a while are paved with concrete because of this problem. When it's really hot out, buses sink into asphalt.

Yes, asphalt's cheaper and quicker to lay down, cheaper to replace too. N.Y.'s Palisades Parkway was made all concrete back in 1958 and only in the last decade or so have heavily trafficed sections been resurfaced with asphalt. Concrete does rarely 'buckle' in high heat though. The recent heat wave made a section of a U.S. highway raise up, catching a motorist doing highway speed unaware. http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DoHMdjhEI73c&v=oHMdjhEI73c&gl=US [youtube.com]

Nope. (5, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608739)

Our infrastructure was built 40 years ago and had a 25 year life expectancy. Every day that things dont simply fall apart is a blessing. Since apparently putting people to work rebuilding and improving things would be socialsim, so I guess there's nothing we can do about it.

Re:Nope. (4, Insightful)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608783)

Er, a tarmac can simply be maintained for a longer life. I am not sure if ripping it off and rebuilding it would be socialism, but it would definitely be stupid.

Re:Nope. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608879)

Er, a tarmac can simply be maintained for a longer life. I am not sure if ripping it off and rebuilding it would be socialism, but it would definitely be stupid.

If by maintained you mean filling in cracks and pot holes with new asphalt, then it's pretty stupid considering asphalt as it is now doesn't work with extreme temperatures (which are going to be increasingly common from now on).

Re:Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609389)

Right. And Daytona should have been kept bumpy instead of being replaced.

Thanks but no thanks!

Re:Nope. (5, Informative)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608949)

No, not an infrastructure problem.

Tarmac is formulated for specific climates, so that it heats and flows properly for the maximum temperature expected in that area. For instance, 25 years ago in the region where I live, a Hot day was around 80 degrees. So the asphalt mix used was intended for that sort of climate. Now that our summers mave many days in the mid-upper 90's, and a few that tweak 100, that asphalt is out of it's temperature range.

The reason that they use different mixes depending on climate is that the mixes that set will in a cooler climate, also have some resistance to frost heaving. The mixes that harden at a higher temp are more brittle at freezing temps.

This is probably more than anyone wants to know about asphalt paving or tarmacadam.

Otherwise, yeah, we are sure letting a lot of stuff fall apart.

Any mix for -18 to 38? (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609159)

The reason that they use different mixes depending on climate is that the mixes that set will in a cooler climate, also have some resistance to frost heaving. The mixes that harden at a higher temp are more brittle at freezing temps.

So what's the solution for a place like Indiana that can reach both 0 deg F (-18 deg C) and 100 deg F (38 deg C)?

Re:Any mix for -18 to 38? (4, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609249)

So what's the solution for a place like Indiana that can reach both 0 deg F (-18 deg C) and 100 deg F (38 deg C)?

Here in Chicago, we have a bigger swing than that by about 15 deg F. We've gone from less than -10 deg to 105 deg.

I swear, sometimes on the same day. Two weeks ago, we had very nearly a 50 degree swing in the course of 30 hours.

Last week, when we were over 100 all week long, there were pavement buckles all over the expressways. Thing is, we can make infrastructure that will last, but it means making it a priority higher than building an embassy in Iraq bigger than the Vatican.

Re:Nope. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609201)

I highly doubt in 25 years the average climate in your region has changes from highs of 80 to highs of 95-99. That would be a cataclysmically drastic climate shift. Even the most alarmist of IPCC scientists is looking at global warming on the scale of 2-3 degrees in 40-50 years. I really wish people would stop blaming hot days on global warming, it just makes us all look stupid. Keep this in mind the next time you have an unseasonably cold day :P

Re:Nope. ? It is if you need to replace it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609297)

No, not an infrastructure problem.

In Australia we see summer temperatures of 47C (116F), higher in the desert regions, and the bitumen roads don't melt. This could mean that surfacing you have chosen might need to be replaced with more suitable compound to deal with the rising temperatures, quite an expensive exercise considering the amount of airports / roads in the USA.

Perhaps it would be a cheaper alternative to stop burning all of the fossil fuels now and look for some alternatives to combat global warming?

Re:Nope. (3, Interesting)

styrotech (136124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609311)

Yep. It is also why (in temperate regions at least - ie no real freezing) resealing work is ideally always done at the hottest time of the year.

There's an optimal viscosity for laying the stuff. So by sealing in summer they can then use a mix with the highest possible melting temp to hopefully avoid these sticky summer situations. Sealing roads etc when its colder requires a runnier mix, which then doesn't handle summers quite as well.

Of course places with a very wide seasonal temperature range make this much more challenging.

Re:Nope. (0)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609399)

Exactly. Our mighty air network in the south (DFW in particular) is paved with concrete. As are most of our roads. Concrete has a much higher lifespan, and in our soft gooey Dallas clay soil, doesn't warp over time.
 
Most of our roads - particularly major roads and intersections - are made of concrete for this same reason. Old country asphalt roads without a proper bed underneath them end up with huge humps and bumps as cars drive over them in hot weather. We learned our lessons years ago.

Re:Nope. (-1)

mfwitten (1906728) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609077)

Where do you think that money to put people back to work building infrastructure comes from?

When it comes to public property, deciding which bridge to rebuild is a decision that is politicized—it is a decision made by favors of power through stealth amendments to unrelated bills with costs (which include kickbacks for cronies) borne out on the backs of the populace under threat of violence. Public works destroy resources, and even if some good came from them, we're all at the mercy of a monoplistic organization (some call it "government") that would rather spend resources dropping bombs on people.

If you want to see resources go into infrastructure WHERE IT IS MOST ASSUREDLY WANTED (let alone NEEDED), and where it will be maintained to high quality, then you want to see the privatization of roads. Private property brings the sense of ownership over a resource and the consequent desire to invest in its sustainable exploitation; it is the engine behind good decisions—including the decision to dismantle and abandon something that is no longer useful. It does no good to put your faith in a supposedly "noble" bureaucrat who gets to play around with other people's money.

But who would invest in such infrastructure? I don't know; that's the point of allowing a Free Market—an environment where there are robust processes of variation and selection that give rise to the evolution of society, allowing society to adapt to the needs of the moment.

Perhaps some roads would be maintained by emergent consortiums of the businesses that exist along them, passing the cost onto the consumers who frequent those businesses, effectively creating an implicit user fee. Perhaps some bridges would have toll booths, possibly owned and operated by businesses that specialize in building and maintaining such infrastructure and thus have an interest in maintenance, expansion, and research in new designs. Perhaps some neighborhood associations would take on the task. The possibilities are endless when you get the bureaucratic thugs of centralized power out of the way.

Re:Nope. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609127)

I know you probably started as a run of the mill Republican but dude you are now a foaming at the mouth extremist. You won't even pay taxes to maintain the fucking roads? Get real man.

Re:Nope. (5, Insightful)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609171)

roads can't be traded like "generic trade goods" can. they don't work like TVs in boxes on trucks.

infrastructure is not a traditional product, and market models can get somewhat confused when dealing with immovable things that are used all the time and need maintenance.

if you look at private rail systems, they're a very mixed bunch. some do it better than others.

what prevents the selection and evolution you speak of are the little details like you can't just choose another city's infrastructure because they're better or more efficient. you're stuck with what you've got where you live, and there's very little incentive for the local monopoly to improve things if their bottom line is not going to be improved.

melbourne's rail system was privatized in the '90s, originally split to 3 companies who handled a third of the network each. they eventually all merged into the one, which was a multinational. they made more money in london than they did here, so they effectively trained up drivers here and offered them packages in london. they only bought new trains when their hands were forced. they hired goons to shake people down for ticket infractions. the fines for no ticket are higher than the fines for exceeding the speed limit by 20km/h +.

this company then got the arse when their contract was up for renewal. people were sick of them. the network had not had significant works in over a decade. another company moved in their place, and were left with the canonical "stuttering clusterfuck of a miserable failure" of a system. the previous tenant had left enough leeway in their contract that major works were not assigned explicitly to either state government or them, so they just didn't get done.

works are finally happening now, slowly. the public are absorbing the cost in a big way, road traffic is worse than it has ever been because people stopped taking the train.

Re:Nope. (0)

mfwitten (1906728) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609229)

You can't centrally plan a conversion to a privatized system, especially one based on contracts with, I presume, the government. The key is evolution, not revolution.

Your example is a poor one, and it reminds me of the Robber Barons canard [mises.org] .

Re:Nope. (4, Insightful)

vivian (156520) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609197)

Roads, like all networks are a natural monopoly, and thus should be run by the state.
Unless you want to allow for competition that is by having a second road network constructed and maintained alongside the first. Then you could have a dupoly.
Services on networks should be privatized (bus services, mail services, electricity generation, internet service provision, telephone, etc) but the physical network structure itself should be in the hands of the public, via that trustworthy custodian, the government. If you don't like how they run things, vote in a new bunch.

Re:Nope. (4, Informative)

ghostdoc (1235612) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609305)

Actually, the UK's road system started off as private toll roads maintained by the people who charged tolls on them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turnpike_trust [wikipedia.org]

It was abandoned as being inefficient and the responsibility for the roads turned over to local government. So yes, roads 'should' be run by the state, but not as a natural monopoly, but just because it's actually more efficient to fund the roads through taxes than tolls.

Re:Nope. (-1, Troll)

mfwitten (1906728) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609403)

it's actually more efficient to fund the roads through taxes than tolls.

Tolls are not the only solution.

Governments waste their money on other, fruitless endeavors, thereby leaving infrastructure to ruin; this is more apparent the larger and expansive Government becomes.

Re:Nope. (-1, Troll)

mfwitten (1906728) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609379)

There's no such thing as a trustworthy custodian, especially when that custodian ALSO wastes its resources assassinating children and subsidizing dying or corrupt industries, etc. I'm sure the Government will finally get around to dealing with infrastructure Real Soon Now!®

Political action (voting, or some other such nonsense) is a terrible way to establish management of services; it is subject to politicization just as before. It is better to let a bad company die in the Free Market and then auction off its holdings to more capable hands. At worst, there will be periods of discomfort, but that is no worse than what we have today with an endless, violent, useless monopoly controlling things; eventually, a robust system will evolve—one that is better than any would-be Intelligent Designer in the Government could hope to dream up.

Re:Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609191)

Insightful hardly? Most of our major infrastructure was built 60-100 years ago and was built to last alot longer than 25 years.

The stuff built in the past 25 years at the local level has been some pretty cheap construction and would be lucky to last 25 years. Big state and federal projects are built to much higher standards because how else would they be able to justify flushing all that money down the drain?

News to us in Texas (4, Insightful)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608753)

This is news to us in Dallas. Our international airport has been fine for many, many days of 105+ temperatures.

Clearly this is a case of poor engineering and substandard materials, not 'hot environment destroying asphalt'.

Re:News to us in Texas (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608781)

I was going to say the same thing about Phoenix. We have at least a couple months of almost continuous 100+ temps and never hear of issues like this.

Re:News to us in Texas (3, Informative)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608835)

I also live near Phoenix. They do in fact occasionally shut down airport traffic when it hits the mid-high 110s (or even 120s). I'm not sure if it's because of this particular problem, or if the airplanes overheat.

Re:News to us in Texas (4, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608929)

High temperatures thin air.  Thin air makes for less lift.  Less lift makes for dangerous takeoffs.

Sky Harbor (4, Informative)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609043)

Sky Harbor (Phoenix airport) doesn't use asphalt runways for precisely this reason: archaeologists would be digging the bones of widebodied aircraft out of the tarpit centuries from now.

FWIW, the record temperature at Sky Harbor was 50C. They had to shut down the airport until it cooled off because the standard tables for flap settings didn't go that high. Now they do.

Re:News to us in Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608855)

Maybe you folks in Arizona and Dallas have concrete runways instead of asphalt to prevent exactly this problem?

Re:News to us in Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608889)

Denver does. So does Arizona.

Re:News to us in Texas (1)

Svartormr (692822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608813)

You have either concrete runways with asphalt sealing or a different mix of asphalt that is more viscous at a given temperature.

Re:News to us in Texas (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608977)

So yes, poor engineering.

Re:News to us in Texas (3, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608821)

Clearly this is a case of poor engineering and substandard materials

They've just mixed the asphalt for the expected climate instead of having the same mix that would be used in Dallas, or a different mix again for a hot tropical climate. Other expected problems are rails buckling and problems with elongation of power lines.

Re:News to us in Texas (2)

profplump (309017) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608915)

Actually rail lines aren't a problem -- they are stretched when installed so that when the air temperature is ~100 degrees there's no stress on the line.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_stressing [wikipedia.org]

Re:News to us in Texas (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609067)

That's cool for the rail that goes across the country, which is continuous, which (as per the Wikipedia article with no citations you referenced) is the kind of rail which is stretched during installation. All the rail I've ever seen up close is bolted... there must be plenty of rail for which this will be a problem.

Re:News to us in Texas (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609333)

Funny you should mention that. We ALSO had MetroRail tracks buckling in DC [wtop.com] as well as electrical line problems (although most of those could be blamed on the derecho, and tended to hit the more heavily-treed older developments harder). Oddly enough, the same people complaining about long waits for power restoration, were complaining just weeks ago about tree-trimback policies. . . [wtop.com]

Re:News to us in Texas (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608829)

Not if the materials were chosen for expected temperatures that are no longer the norm. Washington D.C. has not historically had "many, many days of 105+ temperatures", so why would engineers waste money designing for such a scenario? A quick Google search for 'average temperature US cities" turns up one table showing a 5.8 degree difference between average July temp in Washington D.C. vs. Dallas TX.

Re:News to us in Texas (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608901)

Well the runways at DFW are almost three feet thick in some places and the tarmacs are all concrete or concrete block based as well, not asphalt. Asphalt is used at DCA/Reagan for aircraft taxi. Looking at the picture it looks like it got stuck on one of the taxiways probably at the end of the runway where on either end of the main runway there are large concrete marshalling areas where planes sit waiting to take off. I wonder what the takeoff weight was for that particular flight. I know on MD80s flying out of there it's not uncommon for example to have 26000 lbs of fuel onboard, so that coupled with the heat and a small surface area (tires) means it'd probably sink.

When it even gets to be 100F, Asphalt does get sticky, even in Dallas but most of the time it'll just buckle and crack.

Re:News to us in Texas (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609003)

This is news to us in Dallas. Our international airport has been fine for many, many days of 105+ temperatures.

Yup, it's been designed for those heat ranges. The formulation of the paving changes depending on local climate. Places in the Northest still aren't all caught up to the warmer temps we get in th esummer now. In my area, most of the pavement mixes were designed for max temperatures in the mid 80's. Now that a typical summer is 90's and some times 100's, the old paving mix isn't up to the task. We would get frost heaves in the winter, and mixes that are more flexible at lower temps don't frost heave as much. But they can't handle the heat as well. Mixes that handle heat tend to become brittle more quickly, and can fall apart with the heaves.

Re:News to us in Texas (1)

theycallmeB (606963) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609137)

At DFW the airport runways, taxiways, and parking aprons are also very nearly 100% concrete, not asphalt. Concrete is much more expensive, harder to repair, and the expansion joints can be rather murderous. Which is a point the summary left out: a good asphalt surface has fewer joints that can be split open by snow and ice.

I wonder what happens in the Middle East. (1)

vakuona (788200) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608765)

I hear that temperatures there can be like 50 degrees celsius (or 120 fahrenheit).

Re:I wonder what happens in the Middle East. (1)

Delarth799 (1839672) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609063)

They use concrete or a different mix of asphalt

Re:I wonder what happens in the Middle East. (1)

vakuona (788200) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609319)

So, when the high temperatures happen, change the asphalt! Why worry about it now?

Re:I wonder what happens in the Middle East. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609113)

Nothing happens, they don't make runways and taxi ways out of asphalt.

What's an imgur? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608771)

Some kind of disease?

Not a problem in Montreal (3, Funny)

Hamsterdan (815291) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608779)

Vehicules get stuck in potholes long before asphalt even has a chance to melt

Lets cover the city with tarps. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608797)

it might not help the airport runways.. But if we could cover all of the roads and sidewalks with some sort of reflective tarp, we could start reflecting more of the sun back away from the earth. Eventually cover neighborhoods and business districts. It could compensate for the loss of that reflective snow. Plus it would keep us feeling a lot more comfortable and we'd waste less energy cooling our cars and homes. It would obviously take decades to achieve, but it would make life in the miserable heat more tolerable.

It's never been over 100 in DC before? (-1)

twotacocombo (1529393) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608801)

Palm Springs Airport, Las Vegas Airport, Edwards AFB (where they landed the freakin' space shuttle). All places that regularly see temps in excess of 100 degrees. If global warming was going to cause the ground to swallow planes whole, don't you think we'd have seen it happen in these places first?

Re:It's never been over 100 in DC before? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608859)

Those places were probably built with the expectation of high temperatures, and used asphalt that would function properly at those temperatures and higher.

DC, however, is in that ugly latitude where you get freezing winters (-20C/0F) but burning summers (40C/100F), and (as a man living close enough to DC to die from the fallout when the bombs drop) the last few weeks have been extremely, abnormally hot, and they've maintained that high temperature for a long time. Part of it, I expect, is that even the nights are hot - the asphalt didn't get a chance to cool to 50-60F every night.

Welcome to the new normal (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609149)

Remember those 1 in 200 year storms/floods/heat waves they designed for.

They are going to be more frequent going forward, so your design is only good up to, say, a 1 in 20 year event.

Re:It's never been over 100 in DC before? (2, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609363)

The record high for July 9 and 10 in Washington DC was set in 1936 with 104 degrees on July 9, 1936 and 105 degrees on July 10, 1936. Those are the highest temperatures on record for Washington DC in July (the 7th this year matched the temperature from July 10,1936). The highest temperatures ever recorded in Washington, DC are from two consecutive days in August 1918. The events of this weekend do not represent an unprecedented heat level for Washington, DC. When one further considers that in the last 50 years Washington, DC has been developed in a manner that causes a local heat island effect, this has nothing to do with global warming and everything to do with the expansion of the federal government.

Also (-1, Troll)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608807)

The other day, I stepped on dog shit. You know what means - global warming. It's clear as day how that comes about, unless you're a "denier".

Re:Also (1)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608853)

The other day, I stepped on dog shit. You know what means - global warming. It's clear as day how that comes about, unless you're a "denier".

It's true. Had there been no global warming you would have stepped IN dog shit.

Water (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608809)

Spray a little bit of water on it, it's impressive the amount of heat capacity that water has. It may turn to steam, but it will harden that asphalt quickly.

In addition - to the editor, or lack thereof, who allowed, or ignored, the article submission above - complete with excessive, overuse, of commas, and dashes - such as these - used excessively, to excess, throughout the submission - please stop.

Re:Water (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608863)

In addition - to the editor, or lack thereof, who allowed, or ignored, the article submission above - complete with excessive, overuse, of commas, and dashes - such as these - used excessively, to excess, throughout the submission - please stop.

Your ass. Commas, when used correctly, make long sentences a lot more readable. Using an unusually high number of commas in a particular piece of writing is not grammatically incorrect, nor is it stylistically incorrect. Sure there were a lot of commas in the submission, but they didn't get in the way of readability and they were not excessive.

It was also nice to see the correct use of dashes. What you indicated in your snarky comment was not dashes, they are hyphens. The dash is something of an endangered punctuation mark. Pity.

Re:Water (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609313)

- – —
Hyphen, en-dash, and em-dash. On my keyboard (colemak) typed by altgr+- and altgr+shift+-.

Re:Water (2)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609327)

Interestingly enough /. showed those perfectly in the preview, but then escaped them in the final post. /. really should fix their unicode support, I get that use of RTL and control characters were an issue, but there are better ways to prevent that than whitelisting a very small character set.

I know!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608811)

Lines of Air Conditioners on each side of the runway!!!!.

(I know, they cause massive global warming, but there's always more aircons.)

Big rains - bigger culverts (4, Interesting)

aggles (775392) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608823)

The civil engineers around here are replacing any culvert that needs it with the bigger size, so that the increased run-off can be handled without washing out the roads. They assume 500 year events are now 100 year events and 100 year events are 30. 10 year events can happen at any time. Makes sense to me.

"...in a future of weirding weather." (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608831)

Stand back! This weather has the weirding way!

Re:"...in a future of weirding weather." (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608871)

Glad I'm not the only one who thought of this.

Earth won't turn into Venus! (1, Flamebait)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608839)

Damnit, even the worst fearmongers tell us that temperatures will rise by 1 degree per 20 years. Even ignoring the fact that this kind of temperature rise is insignificant in terms of what we're talking about, that's decades or centuries to replace infrastructure.

Instead of worrying about asphalt on streets, I'm worring about brains already having melted in one-too-many climate change activists demonstration.

Re:Earth won't turn into Venus! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608971)

Thanks for sharing with us your ignorance of ecosystems and their tolerances.

Re:Earth won't turn into Venus! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609011)

Damnit, even the worst fearmongers tell us that temperatures will rise by 1 degree per 20 years. Even ignoring the fact that this kind of temperature rise is insignificant in terms of what we're talking about, that's decades or centuries to replace infrastructure.

Instead of worrying about asphalt on streets, I'm worring about brains already having melted in one-too-many climate change activists demonstration.

Get a clue.

"Temperatures will rise by an average of 1 degree" does not imply that temperatures will be ~1 degree higher each and every day. Quite the contrary, climatologists predict that the weather (including temperature) will be MUCH more volatile. That means you will have many days where the temp is >15 degrees above normal, in additional to crazier winter weather etc.

Basically, because the size of weather fluctuations are expected to increase, you will get more days of crazy temperatures that will take a toll on infrastructure.

Re:Earth won't turn into Venus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609225)

You're the one who needs to get a clue. Find a verifiable, reliable scientific source that quotes numbers like yours, or would back that Global Warming is the cause of the Tarmac failure...

Re:Earth won't turn into Venus! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609237)

Translation... If the temperatures go up in an area, its global warming. If the temperatures go down in an area, its global warming. If the temperatures stay the same in an area, its global warming.

In other words, he is saying no matter what happens, weather wise, that is bad it is global warming and would not have happened if you just paid the government money for the CO2 that you create.

Re:Earth won't turn into Venus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609037)

Yeah because our weather predictions are so accurate (yes, yes, weather != climate). A few degrees could radically change things as ocean currents shift, ice melts or freezes, etc. We don't have much experience.

With that said, I agree that just because this is or will be an unusually hot summer doesn't mean it has anything to do with global climate change, it's just weather.

Re:Earth won't turn into Venus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609051)

If you're used to a yearly high temperature of 100 and a yearly low of 0, then the average is 50 degrees. If those extremes change to 110 and -8, then the average has only gone up by 1 degree. Or, you could have a yearly high of 110 and a low of -12 and the average has gone down. Either way, you're still dealing with blistering heat in the summer.

Oversimplified, of course. I'm not a geologist nor a statistician.

Re:Earth won't turn into Venus! (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609097)

that's decades or centuries to replace infrastructure.

It takes decades to find the cash and political will to replace infrastructure.
Actually building infrastructure takes years at most.

Re:Earth won't turn into Venus! (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609279)

The average yearly global temperature will rise over time from global warming. The current rate is about 0.1 C/decade. But that doesn't mean that recorded temperatures will simply rise by 0.1 C over that decade. Instead you will continue to have extreme hot and extreme cold events but over time because of the warming the extreme hot events become a bit more common and the extreme cold events a little less common and the average rises. With continued warming the heat wave in the US this summer could become the normal summer weather in 30 or 40 years.

So the rise doesn't seem all that significant but the individual events that become more common can be very disruptive. Just ask corn growers in the Midwest where the harvest will probably be reduced by about 25% this year because of the drought and heat wave at a time the corn should be pollinating.

Average temperature a few degrees higher (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608845)

The average temperature is probably a few degrees higher, if a degree at all. Does insfrastructure have no tolerance at all?!

Re:Average temperature a few degrees higher (3, Funny)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608923)

Quick everybody! buy up some carbon credits to stop this from happening!

Re:Average temperature a few degrees higher (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609009)

This.

I am well aware temperatures are rising, and that we are the cause.

That being said, I am not convinced there is enough evidence that every extreme weather we have is because of this rise. We have been having extremes in weather since the world began. It is part of life dealing with the century rain, snow, and heat wave. The only difference now is apparently these century highs, rains, and snows are caused by the warming earth apparantly.

1) Yes we are warming the planet, it needs to stop. We need to take action and to do it now.

2) Not every weather phenomenon is a result of this warming.

---
Posted A/C so at to not kill my Karma on this one.

Re:Average temperature a few degrees higher (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609033)

The average temperature is probably a few degrees higher, if a degree at all. Does insfrastructure have no tolerance at all?!

The problem is the *volatility* in the temperature, not a change in the average. Fluctuations in temperature are predicted to become substantially larger, which means that you will have many more days with crazy temperatures even if the average doesn't change much.

Re:Average temperature a few degrees higher (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609091)

Infrastructure meant to have a 150,000-500,000lbs aircraft parked on it, yes, it's called concrete and is quite durable even at record temperatures.

Asphalt on the other hand, even on a cool day cannot handle much more than 12,000lbs before an aircraft will start sinking into it.

The person who wrote the article is ignorant and doesn't know what they are talking about.

Re:Average temperature a few degrees higher (1)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609299)

The average temperature is probably a few degrees higher, if a degree at all. Does insfrastructure have no tolerance at all?!

"Average" being the operative word (with the average being on a global scale). It doesn't imply at all that the increase is evenly distributed all across the globe.

By way of example, if the Earth were only made up of two temperature regions, and one saw an increase in temperature of 10 units, and another saw a decrease of 6 units, the "average" would be 2 units.

It's easier if you think in terms of energy. The global environment is storing an increasing amount of energy, causing an average global warming (i.e.: increase in temperature). However, that energy has never been evenly distributed (colder at the poles, warmer at the equator, differing climates around water, etc.), and the increases aren't evenly distributed either. Some areas are experiencing increases well above the average, others are experiencing decreases, others are staying the same, and some are seeing swings both ways (hotter than usual at certain times of the year, colder than usual at others).

A specific infrastructure installation thus isn't at the whims of "average" warming, but whatever local changes are occurring, which may be greater or lesser than the average. Some areas will get more, and some will get less, some will switch between the two depending on the season. Things will get more chaotic and less predictable due to the added energy in the system.

Just remember: "average increase" doesn't mean "uniform increase".

Yaz

Yawn. (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608847)

We're having 114F in Phoenix today, peeps. It's routine this time of year.

Having aircraft sink into the pavement is no surprise when you're used to feeling the stuff squish under your shoes.

Re:Yawn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609023)

Well sure, but you are talking about Phoenix. A place in a desert, named after a flaming bird. Most cities aren't used to that much heat.

Nonsensical... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608865)

...and stupid. How do airports in routine 110+ degree weather (Phoenix comes to mind immediately and with routine 110+ degree weather in the summer) not to mention much of the Southwest part of the US that commonly bakes in 100+ degree weather? Fact is, they do just fine and have done fine for a very long time.

If National wasn't engineered properly for heat extremes that's their problem.

And, while we're at it, let's stop co-opting every single article about weather into a pro-AGW manifesto.

Why asphalt? (1)

mschaffer (97223) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608897)

I thought all tarmac was asphalt. (the OP states "asphalt tarmac")

I do have to wonder why this airport chose to use it. I thought most airports used concrete for these surfaces. After all, airplanes are heavy---and have so few points touching the ground. Also,it has been known for years that asphalt gets soft when it heats up. Maybe in Alaska, but near DC---it's just the wrong material, not just now, but before "global warming" was a twinkle in Al Gore's eye.

Re:Why asphalt? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609147)

They don't. Asphalt is only used for surface vehicle and light aicraft areas. All heavy aircraft parking, taxiways, and runways are made out of very thick concrete. Pilots do dumb things like taxi places they don't belong and then get stuck. It happens more often than you think.

    My favorite is when they taxi down the wrong way and get caught at a dead end and unable to turn around. We have to drive out with a tug hook up, push them back to where they started (sometimes several miles) so they can turn the right way.

Re:Why asphalt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609367)

I thought all tarmac was asphalt.

I thought most airports used concrete for these surfaces.

What?

Pffft, global warming. (1, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608909)

Who cares about climate change. Excessive ecological regulation just harms Legitimate Business Interests, right?

(In other news, the forecast this week is schadenfreude with localized told-you-so.)

Re:Pffft, global warming. (1)

Yoda222 (943886) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609073)

Yes, but it looks likes no ecological regulation harms legitimate business interests. I see only one solution. We should have a Climate Act stating:

Temperature is not allowed to raise.

don't stand in one place (4, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608965)

There is a reason that the area around the terminal is made of concrete and there are concrete pads placed at spots where airplanes sit. It is to allow them to stay in one place without sinking. While heat will hasten the effect, a fully loaded large airplane will sink into any tarmac. I ride motorcycles and on hot days my kick stand can dig through most tarmac quite easilly(I carry a small metal plate to spread the load on hot days).

The idea is to keep moving so one does not sink. Whoever let the heavy aircraft sit on tarmac instead of concrete is to blame for the issue and not the heat. Even on an average day for July I bet the aircraft would have sunk to some degree in three hours.

The solution to this problem is to not stand for more than a few minutes on tarmac. If the delay is longer, return to the gate or wait on a piece of concrete.

Re:don't stand in one place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609285)

Exactly! If they didn't make you wait on the bloody runway so long this sort of thing wouldn't happen. God EVERYTHING about flight just pisses me the fuck off. I bet you as they were waiting to get pulled out the stupid egotist captain kept blaring through the speaker waking everyone up every ten minutse to inform them of the 'current situation' too.

How long does it take to soften the asphalt? (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608975)

We've had a cooler-than-average summer in Anchorage, where I live. Nevertheless, there have been a couple of warm days, and on one of them, the sidestand on my motorcycle melted into the asphalt in my driveway, leaving a one inch deep by one inch wide by two inch long divot :/ However, I wouldn't point to that single incidence as proof that temperatures this summer were warmer than average (since I know they aren't, based upon the fact that I've still got the insulated lining in my motorcycle jacket, and I'm still wearing the Thinsulate lined gloves rather than the vented gloves, like I normally use this time of year). Even during a cooler-than-average summer, you can still have a couple of spectacular outliers.

Perth, Australia here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608981)

in summer we'll generally get a whole week or more above 40C (104F)... since we don't have any problems with our infrastructure I'd assume that we use asphalt with a higher liquefying temperature

stop using substandard asphalt and your problem is solved :)

Perth, Australia here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609007)

during our summers we typically get a whole week or more above 40C (104F)... and our tarmac/asphalt doesn't turn to sludge, I assume you simply need to use asphalt with a higher liquefying temperature...
 
stop using substandard materials to build your infrastructure and your problem is solved :)

Someone fired for being dumb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609055)

Tarmacs that are meant for aircraft, particularly large aircraft are never asphalt. Duh! You can't even park a motorcycle on a hot day on an asphalt parking lot without plastic or metal disc under the kickstand without which it will poke a hole through the heat softened asphalt and then fall over.

The only asphalt surfaces at airports are for ground vehicles and light aircraft only! Some dumbass taxied to the wrong spot and got stuck, and then another dumbass wrote an inane story about it. This sort of thing has happened fairly regularly during my 20 year career in aviation and is not some "symptom" of global warming.

What a silly perspective (1)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609057)

The temperature at which asphalt re-liquifies (for lack of a better conversational term) is based purely on the balance of the ingredients. It can easily be adjusted for a warmer climate. Similarly, a different material with the same property over a wider range is just as easily fabricated.

On the other side, wider airplane tires would also weigh into the equasion, pardon the pun.

So don't let this article do what so many FUD-oriented pieces do. Don't let it take a rare occurance, use it to highlight an unusual event, and then use an inconsequential failure as proof of a future eventual catastrophic one.

I promiss that in twenty years, planes will still be able to have runways.

concrete (0)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609161)

Since this was a WASHINGTON DC area airport, it was probably done with inferior products, kick backs to the contractors, union thugs, government officials. Also, MOST airports are using CONCRETE because it LASTS LONGER.

Wierd.... (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609167)

Here in Phoenix, Sky Harbor International Airport gets much hotter than that, but we haven't had any issues of airplanes sinking. Some people say the effect of the heat is mitigated because of it being a dry heat, but to the best of my knowledge asphalt doesn't melt easier under high humidity.

Metling permafrost in Colo. closed major highway (4, Interesting)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609195)

Yesterday, CDOT closed [thedenverchannel.com] US-24, about the fourth most important highway in Colorado, due to ice 100 ft. down that melted for the first time (since a railroad tunnel was constructed a century ago) and created a sinkhole.

Another scaremongering story (4, Insightful)

dinther (738910) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609291)

World temperatures increased by a fraction of a degree but here we go, now airports are melting because of it. What an idiot conclusion telling me a lot of the mental state of the author.

In reality, the aircraft has been in the same spot for far too long. Additionally the consistency of the tarmac material might be sub-standard causing the melting point to be lower. I have seen roads here in New Zealand that had substandard tarmac on them turning to liquid in the hot sun. And New Zealand average temperate is actually dropping over the last decade.

Tarmac? (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609351)

Asphalt is not tarred Macadam.
Tarred Macadam can easily support as much weight as it is built for. Maybe a latex emulsion could be used which would not be sticky when hot.

Concrete or special bituminous mix (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609383)

This is an old, classic problem on airports. That's why, if you're not an idiot, you put your planes on concrete pads while they aren't taxiing

Companies like Shell now propose airport-grade bituminous mix that have all kind of great qualities (low pollution, easy recycling, non-toxic, etc.) but these mixes have a rather low liquefaction temperature, as low as 135 celsius (240 F) for some. In the summer, blacktop temperature is routinely 60-100 F higher than ambient around noon, so it's easy to see why busses or planes can make ruts.

Heck, in France, when the Tour de France goes on local road covered with cheap blacktop, it's not unusual to have asphalt stick to the narrow tires of professional bicycles. The weigh of the athlete is spread on a relatively small surface contact, and thus tends to sink into the overheated blacktop Granted, airport-grade mix is somewhat better, but the physics is the same.

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