Storm Surge and Sea Level Rise Modeling

Coastal communities routinely face natural hazards, including hurricane wind and tidal surge. Under future scenarios of climate change, sea level rise could exacerbate storm surge, creating more extreme flooding events even during lesser storms. Storm surge augmented by future sea level rise could produce a cascade of consequences affecting things such as land use, infrastructure, facilities, waterway navigation, local economy, public health, public safety, drinking water supplies, and ecosystems. Due to the interconnectivity of water management systems throughout the floodplain, slight changes in sea level could impact not only the coastal regions, but inland regions as well. Community vulnerability to the resulting inundation zones can be evaluated along multiple dimensions, including: Critical Facilities, Ecosystems, Economy, Coastal Resources, Water Resources, and Population. This type of study serves as a planning tool for coastal communities exploring mitigation options for sea level rise, including armoring shorelines against future inundation, adapting structures to accommodate future inundation, and retreating from vulnerable coastal locations. By understanding the jurisdiction’s vulnerability to hazards, it may be possible to proactively implement adaptation strategies for post-disaster redevelopment efforts.

Hover over photos to simulate 1 meter (3.3 ft) of seal level rise at Island Park, Sarasota (left) and 0.5 meter (20 inches) of sea level rise at St Armands Circle, Sarasota (right).