Coasts and Floods

CCRUN’s Coasts and Floods Group studies and provides data on storm surge, compound riverine-coastal flooding, climate change impacts, flood hazard and risk assessments, and adaptation assessment, often under advisement or in co-production processes with stakeholders. A major goal is to produce climate risk information that results in informed and improved decision-making on coastal urban resilience. Current priorities include attribution of coastal flood impacts to climate change and estuary development or urbanization, ensemble flood forecasting, and assessment of coastal flood risk from storm surge as well as the potential compounding effect of rainfall.

Current Research: 

The Climate Vulnerability, Impact, and Adaptation Analysis (Climate VIA) Project

The Climate Vulnerability, Impact, and Adaptation Analysis (Climate VIA) project, funded by New York City (NYC), is enabling several universities to collaborate to develop data and analysis on future climate conditions and the socio-economic impacts of climate risks.  Flood risk and adaptation assessments for low-lying areas with vulnerability to both heavy rainfall and storm surge should assess rain, surge and compound flooding from the two. Our primary subtask of the VIA project will create a probabilistic hazard assessment for New York City (NYC) compound rain-surge extreme events.  NYC is located on several small, heavily urbanized watersheds, where timescales of drainage are short and rain and surge must be nearly simultaneous to cause compounding.  Thus, a focus will be on simultaneous rain and surge.  Also, tropical cyclones are responsible for most historical extreme surge and rain events, so storm track data will be used to facilitate a separate assessment for these storms.

Additional Projects:

  • NOAA Office of Response and Restoration, FY23 Disaster Preparedness for Coastal Communities, “Co-developing ensemble flood forecast products to improve communication and preparedness across diverse populations”
  • NOAA Cimate Adaptation Partnerships (CAP), “Co-developing a decision support framework for adaptation to coastal flooding: A comparative case study of communities in New York and Virginia” (Lead-PI is M. Madajewicz).
  • DHS/FEMA Cooperating Technical Partners Program, “Identifying flood risk hotspots using remote sensing and in situ observations”
  • United States Geological Survey, via the North Atlantic Coast Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU), “Assessing Pluvial-Coastal Flood Risk and Potential Climate Inequities in New York City”
  • NSF-Prediction of and Resilience Against Extreme Events (PREEVENTS), “Geomorphic Versus Climatic Drivers of Changing Coastal Flood Risk"

Recent Publications:

Mita, K. S., Orton, P., Montalto, F., Saleh, F., & Rockwell, J., 2023. Sea Level Rise-Induced Transition from Rare Fluvial Extremes to Chronic and Compound Floods. Water, 15(14), 2671. DOI: 2073-4441/15/14/2671. 

Orton, P. M., Ralston, D., van Prooijen, B., Secor, D., Ganju, N. K., Chen, Z., Fernald, S., Brooks, B. and Marcell, K., 2023. Increased utilization of storm surge barriers: A research agenda on estuary effects. Earth’s Future. doi.10.1029/2022EF002991.

Chen, Z., & Orton, P. M., 2023. Effects of Storm Surge Barrier Closures on Estuary Saltwater Intrusion and Stratification. Water Resources Research, e2022WR032317, doi: 10.1029/2022WR032317.

Team Members: