M.V. Bilskie, S.C. Hagen, K. Alizad, S.C. Medeiros, D.L. Passeri, H.F. Needham, A. Cox (2016). “Dynamic simulation and numerical analysis of hurricane storm surge under sea level rise with geomorphologic changes along the northern Gulf of Mexico.” Earth’s Future, In Press. doi: 10.1002/2015EF000347
Abstract This work outlines a dynamic modeling framework to examine the effects of global climate change, and sea level rise (SLR) in particular, on tropical cyclone-driven storm surge inundation. The methodology, applied across the northern Gulf of Mexico, adapts a present day large-domain, high resolution, tide, wind-wave, and hurricane storm surge model to characterize the potential outlook of the coastal landscape under four SLR scenarios for the year 2100. The modifications include shoreline and barrier island morphology, marsh migration, and land use land cover change. Hydrodynamics of ten historic hurricanes were simulated through each of the five model configurations (present day and four SLR scenarios). Under SLR, the total inundated land area increased by 87% and developed and agricultural lands by 138% and 189%, respectively. Peak surge increased by as much as 1 m above the applied SLR in some areas, and other regions were subject to a reduction in peak surge, with respect to the applied SLR, indicating a nonlinear response. Analysis of time-series water surface elevation suggests the interaction between SLR and storm surge is nonlinear in time; SLR increased the time of inundation and caused an earlier arrival of the peak surge, which cannot be addressed using a static (“bathtub”) modeling framework. This work supports the paradigm shift to using a dynamic modeling framework to examine the effects of global climate change on coastal inundation. The outcomes have broad implications and ultimately support a better holistic understanding of the coastal system and aid restoration and long-term coastal sustainability.