CSDMS 2021: Changing Landscapes and Seascapes: Modeling for Discovery, Decision Making, and Communication

Climate change impacts on hurricane storm surge risk

Jeane Camelo

University of Central Florida, United States
Talea Mayo Emory University United States

The properties of hurricanes directly influence storm surges; however, the implications of climate change are unclear. In this work, we use numerical modeling to simulate the storm surges of historical storms under present day and projected end of century climate conditions and assess the impact of climate change on storm surge inundation. We use a convection permitting regional climate model, WRF, and a high fidelity storm surge model, ADCIRC, to simulate hurricanes and storm surges that impacted the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coasts of the continental United States from 2000-2013. We find that the volume of inundation increases for over half of the simulated storms and the average change for all storms is +36%. The extent of inundation increases for over half of the simulated storms, and the average change for all storms is +25%. Notable increases in inundation occur near Texas, Mississippi, the Gulf Coast of Florida, the Carolinas, Virginia, and New York. Our calculations of inundation volume and extent suggest that at the end of the century, we can expect hurricanes to produce larger storm surge magnitudes in concentrated areas, as opposed to surges with lower magnitudes that are widespread. This type of modeling has the potential to significantly contribute to urban planning and resilience efforts of coastal communities.

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Of interest for:
  • Coastal Working Group
  • Coastal Vulnerability Initiative