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SEAD 515: Climate Change Adaptation and Engineering Infrastructure

SEAD 515: Climate Change Adaptation and Engineering Infrastructure

3 Credits

Winter 2020, CRN 19218


Instructor: Laxmi Sushama

Scheduled: to be confirmed.



This course is focused on climate-resilience and sustainability of engineering systems such as the built environment and engineering infrastructure in the context of a changing climate, possible mitigation and adaptation strategies and associated challenges and opportunities. The course will review the basic principles that underpin the science of climate change; the role of global and regional climate models in predicting the behavior of the climate system in response to different forcing scenarios, and the use of climate model outputs in support of across scale climate-resilience of various engineering systems including infrastructure systems.


Learning Objectives:

Students are expected to have a sound understanding of the following by the end of the course:

  • The physical basis of climate change science and drivers of climate change
  • Methods for quantifying changes in observational records and making inferences
  • The basis of global and regional climate model predictions
  • Greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, concentration pathways and future climate projections
  • Understanding the benefits and limitations of climate model projections
  • Mathematical tools and techniques to obtain climate information at the spatial and temporal scales required in engineering applications and associated uncertainties
  • Evaluating impact of climate change on engineering infrastructure systems using various diagnostics
  • Application of scientific tools to analyze various adaptation options, including constraints, costs and benefits, of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies at various temporal and spatial scales
  • Adaptability of design codes, standards and guidelines to changing climate and associated challenges and opportunities


Prerequisites and Restrictions: No prerequisite courses are required. Only U3 or U4 undergraduate and graduate students in any school or department in the Faculty of Engineering are eligible. Approval from TISED and the student's department or supervisor is required (see details below) for all students except mechanical engineering undergraduate students. Note that TISED does not advise students on if/how this course is to be counted in their program requirements; this must be determined by the student’s department.


How to register for SEAD 515:
1. All students registering for this course must fill out the registration permission form below (you must be logged in to access the registration form) to obtain approval from TISED.

2. In addition, students registering for this course must obtain approval from their department or supervisor.

a) Undergraduate students must be in U3 or U4 and must provide a completed course authorization form (link to course authorization form: www.mcgill.ca/engineering/files/engineering/request_for_course_authorization.pdf ) with a signature from their departmental supervisor. Completed forms should be scanned and sent to TISED (tised [at] mcgill.ca (subject: SEAD%20515%20-%20Registration) ) or dropped off to our office in person (MD 270). Undergraduate students in Mechanical Engineering do not require departmental approval.

b) Graduate students must have their supervisor send an email of approval to TISED (tised [at] mcgill.ca (subject: SEAD%20515%20Registration) ).

3. Once you have submitted the form below and we received approval from your department or supervisor, we will contact you to let you know that the course SEAD 515 (CRN 19218has been opened for you on Minerva. You will then need to log into Minerva and register for the course yourself.



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