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Durham University

Department of Engineering

Staff Profile

Publication details for Professor David Toll

Toll, D.G., Mendes, J., Hughes, P.N., Glendinning, S. & Gallipoli, D. (2012). Climate Change and the Role of Unsaturated Soil Mechanics. Geotechnical Engineering 43(1): 76-82.

Author(s) from Durham


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides convincing evidence of global warming as a result of increased greenhouse gas production. There has been a greater occurrence of extreme climate events in recent decades. We need to ensure that our buildings and infrastructure can cope with such events and possibly more extreme events in the future. A good grounding in unsaturated soil mechanics will be necessary to understand future changes involving the drying and desiccation of soils that will occur in dry seasons and the wetting and infiltration processes that prevail during wet seasons. To predict the impacts of climate change will require the use of robust numerical modelling of climate/soil interactions that can be used to model the effects of future climate regimes. To achieve this we need high quality field observations involving climate/soil interaction that can be used to validate the models. This paper reports on a study in the UK to acquire such data.