M.V. Bilskie, S.C. Hagen, D.L. Passeri, K. Alizad, S.C. Medeiros,“Modeling hurricane waves and storm surge
under climate change in the northern Gulf of Mexico.” Louisiana State University, October 10, 2014.
The vulnerability of the built and natural environment in coastal regions will increase due to the effects of global climate change in general, and sea level rise (SLR) in particular. Climate change perturbs the natural state of the environment and can create short- or long-term changes in sea level, shoreline position and profile, barrier islands, intertidal salt marsh productivity, and human-induced change such as population dynamics. The goal is to examine the vulnerability of coastal flooding in the northern Gulf of Mexico from hurricane waves and storm surge under various climate change scenarios. A large-domain, high-resolution, wave and storm surge model that spans the Florida panhandle to the western Mississippi coast was developed and applied to recreate historical events such as Hurricane Dennis, Ivan, Katrina, and Isaac. The storm surge model is modified to include projected changes to shoreline positions and profiles, coastal dune elevations, salt marsh migration, and changes in land use / land cover. Numerous simulations are carried out and are driven by a comprehensive set of synthetic wind fields that result in a large population of flooding surfaces and are statistically analyzed to project a representation of the 100-year floodplain for each SLR scenario. Comparisons between 100-year floodplain maps under present and future SLR scenarios will be used to assess the vulnerability of the northern Gulf of Mexico to coastal storm surge flooding.