Structural reliability is one of the disciplines that has most evolved in recent years. The field of Civil Engineering has always strived to design and execute civil structures as safely as possible, however the methods used to measure the degree of safety of a structure have changed considerably over time, with initial disputes between engineers and advocates of probabilistic methods, which nowadays are practically nonexistent. There are widely accepted level III design methods despite mathematical and statistical difficulties.

Given its importance and relevance, structural reliability is one of the major research lines within the Institute. In this sense we are conducting research on the characterization of the joint distribution function of all the random variables that can affect the structures in river , coastal and marine areas, so as to then inlude them into standard reliability models, such as the Monte Carlo methods or First Order Reliability Methods (FORM). Additionally, new methods are being studied based on scenarios and / or reanalysis databases such as Buffered Failure Probability Method, and its integration into constrained reliability optimization problems.

Since  2003 the Spanish Office of Climate Change IH Cantabria has hired IH Cantbaria to study the impact of climate change along the coasts of Spain. The  group dedicated to this task has  developed and refined data, methodologies and tools for the assessment of impacts and identification of adaptation measures to respond to the needs of climate change in coastal areas considering scientific, technical and socio-economic variables related to climate variability and present and future climate change.

Within the coastal area the research carried out focuses on the risks of flooding and erosion and their impact on infrastructures, focusing on impacts and adaptation in coastal cities and in tourism. The methodologies and tools developed are being implemented in two European projects (THESEUS and COCONet) as well as throughout Latin America (projects for the United Nations and Inter-American Development Bank).

Fluctuating weather conditions in a specific region are defined by a complex process involving certain limiting factors, forcings, natural feedback or iterations between the different subsystems. The analysis of the temporal variations affecting a particular variable implies knowledge of these issues specifically.

At IH Cantabria we combine the knowledge on the geophysics of the system with the application of mathematical techniques. Our studies on climatic variations analyze multiple time scales (seasonal , interannual and secular variability) and have led to the development of mathematical-statistical techniques in the following areas: time series analysis, extreme value analysis, heteroscedastic regression models (to consider changes in the mean and variance), nonstationaryprobability distributions  analysis, characterization synoptic weather types classification techniques and machine learning techniques.

Therefore we investigated: seasonal patterns, teleconnections that can affect a specific variable in a given location, the influence of orbital forcings, or long-term trends.

One of the key aspects to assessing meteorological oceanographic dynamics is to provide a simplified representation, often using probabilistic parameters and distribution functions of environmental variables.

Researchers in this group have developed, over the last 10 years, various methodologies for the univariate and multivariate definition of marine climate, under either average or extreme regime persistencies (IDF curves). As a result of this research, two recently presented doctoral theses have studied the representation of the maritime climate with data mining techniques and modeling of non-stationary wave extremes, wind, precipitation and sea level.

One of the main areas of research of the Marine Climate and Climate Change area at IH Cantabria is the study of new methods for the description and statistical analysis of environmental variables affecting marine  and river engineering projects. To do this, advanced techniques are employed including mathematical statistics available for the databases of different variables so that these can be integrated into different contexts: life cycle of offshore structures, coastal risk studies, climate change, etc. ..

This line is transversal within the Institute, with a wide variety of applications. It aims to strengthen the scientific basis necessary to face many new challenges in this area. Currently there is a significant increase of available information on the variables that affect the marine environment and coastal and river areas due to the use of: instrumental buoys, weather stations, cameras, satellite, rain gauges, flow gauging, etc. all of which require alternative methodologies to allow incorporating the available information. 

Among the most relevant, are the new methods of analysis of these variables focusing on some of the following aspects: unsteady adjustment to account for interannual variations, sensitivity studies to see how they affect the data in the results from different models, reanalysis database calibrations, study long-term trends taking into account the spatial variability (local, regional and global), regression methods to study trends and anomalies regarding the trend for subsequent integration risk assessment, combining extreme analysis and reanalysis instrumental information, etc ...

In parallel and in order to facilitate knowledge and technological transfer and as well as scientific and technical contributions arising from the research, a software has been developed to allow web-based statistical analysis of environmental variables with the advances that have been made in this field in recent years and methodologies arising from investigations at IH Cantabria.

The generation of databases on marine variables is the basis for the analysis of climate dynamics and climate change. At IH Cantabria each database generation involves a methodological process that includes, in addition to the numerical simulation of the target variable, the validation of the simulations using instrumental measurements, calibration of the databases and characterization of the simulated climate.

That is why our wave, sea level and wind data bases have three important characteristics: quality, availability close to shore and the length of the available time series,  fundamental to the study of historical changes observed or of future climate evolution.

IH is also developing new techniques to generate databases for future climate projections with sufficient spatial resolution for regional analysis.

IH Cantabria is aware of the complexity, importance and fragility of coastal areas, which is why many researchers are dedicated  to studying the vulnerability of coastal areas facing different natural and anthropogenic hazards, such as water pollution, erosion coastal oil spills, river and coastal flooding, tsunamis or the threats associated with climate change.

The multidisciplinary approach at IH Cantabria has enabled the development of a specific methodology to analyze risks from various threats, taking into account not only the probability of occurrence of the threat and uncertainty, vulnerability of the coastal system in an integrated manner, understanding the interrelationships between the human, environmental and socio-economic and spatial-temporal variations.

Given the importance of connecting science and management in the field of coastal risks, the results provide easy ily accessible information to allow institutional strengthening through the transfer of scientific and technological advances and thereby contributing to the management of risk with the best information available.

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