Investigating the impacts of climate change on slopes: Field measurements

D. G. Toll, J. Mendes, D. Gallipoli, S. Glendinning, P. N. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change has the potential to have significant effects on the stability and serviceability of earthworks slopes, impacting on the performance of transport infrastructures. This paper describes how a unique facility for engineering and biological research was established in NE England through the BIONICS Project (Biological and Engineering Impacts of Climate Change on Slopes). It describes the building and monitoring of a full-scale embankment representative of road/rail embankments in the UK. The paper presents the results of monitoring of pore water pressure carried out between 2007 and 2009. The pore water pressures within the upper 3 m of the embankment have been largely positive, in some case approaching hydrostatic conditions after wetter periods. This is largely due to the wet nature of the summers in both 2007 and 2008 since monitoring began, as well as the application of artificial inundation using a climate control system. Negative pore water pressures (suctions) of the order of 230 kPa were recorded at greater depths below 3 m. The experimental facility provides essential field measurements that can be used to calibrate numerical models of soil responses to climatic changes and gain a better understanding of the response of engineered UK fills to climate events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-161
Number of pages11
JournalGeological Society Engineering Geology Special Publication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


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