skip to main content

Title: Estuarine and coastal natural hazards: An introduction and synthesis
Two sessions were organized during the 2018 Fall AGU Meeting entitled, (1) Coastal Response to Extreme Events: Fidelity of Model Predictions of Surge, Inundation, and Morphodynamics and (2) Improved Observational and Modeling Skills to Understand the Hurricane and Winter Storm Induced Surge and Meteotsunami. The focus of these sessions was on examining the impact of natural disasters on estuarine and coastal regions worldwide, including the islands and mainland in the northwestern Atlantic and the northwestern Pacific. The key research interests are the investigations on the regional dynamics of storm surges, coastal inundations, waves, tides, currents, sea surface temperatures, storm inundations and coastal morphology using both numerical models and observations during tropical and extratropical cyclones. This Special Issue (SI) ‘Estuarine and coastal natural hazards’ in Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science is an outcome of the talks presented at these two sessions. Five themes are considered (effects of storms of wave dynamics; tide and storm surge simulations; wave-current interaction during typhoons; wave effects on storm surges and hydrodynamics; hydrodynamic and morphodynamic responses to typhoons), arguably reflecting areas of greatest interest to researchers and policy makers. This synopsis of the articles published in the SI allows us to obtain a better understanding of the dynamics of natural hazards (e.g., storm surges, extreme waves, and storm induced inundation) from various physical aspects. The discussion in the SI explores future dimensions to comprehend numerical models with fully coupled windwave- current-morphology interactions at high spatial resolutions in the nearshore and surf zone during extreme wind events. In addition, it would be worthwhile to design numerical models incorporating climate change projections (sea level rise and global warming temperatures) for storm surges and coastal inundations to allow more precisely informed coastal zone management plans.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Estuarine coastal and shelf science
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract. Ocean surges pose a global threat for coastal stability.These hazardous events alter flow conditions and pore pressures in floodedbeach areas during both inundation and subsequent retreat stages, which canmobilize beach material, potentially enhancing erosion significantly. Inthis study, the evolution of surge-induced pore-pressure gradients is studied through numerical hydrologic simulations of storm surges. The spatiotemporal variability of critically high gradients is analyzed in three dimensions. The analysis is based on a threshold value obtained for quicksand formationof beach materials under groundwater seepage. Simulations of surge eventsshow that, during the run-up stage, head gradients can rise to the calculated critical level landward of the advancing inundation line. During thereceding stage, critical gradients were simulated seaward of the retreatinginundation line. These gradients reach maximum magnitudes just as sea levelreturns to pre-surge levels and are most accentuated beneath the still-water shoreline, where the model surface changes slope. The gradients vary alongthe shore owing to variable beach morphology, with the largest gradientsseaward of intermediate-scale (1–3 m elevation) topographic elements (dunes)in the flood zone. These findings suggest that the common practices inmonitoring and mitigating surge-induced failures and erosion, which typically focus on the flattest areas of beaches, might need to be revised to include other topographic features. 
    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Extreme sea levels (ESLs) due to typhoon-induced storm surge threaten the societal security of densely populated coastal China. Uncertainty in extreme value analysis (EVA) for ESL estimation has large implications for coastal communities’ adaptation to natural hazards. Here we evaluate uncertainties in ESL estimation and relevant driving factors based on hourly observations from 13 tide gauge stations and a complementary dataset derived from a hydrodynamic model. Results indicate significant uncertainties in ESL estimations stemming from using different EVA methods, which then propagate to the inundation assessment. Amplification factors due to sea-level rise (SLR) are highly sensitive to local relative SLR and the shape of the exceedance probability curve, which in turn depends on the selected EVA method. The hydrodynamic model hindcast indicates that high ESLs mainly occurred in eastern coastal China due to typhoon-induced storm surge. Larger uncertainties in the modelled ESLs are found for the coasts of the Yangtze River Delta, and particularly in the river mouth region. Future research and adaptation planning should prioritize these regions given expected future rising sea level, compound flood events, and human-induced factors (e.g. subsidence). This study provides theoretical and practical references for adaptation to ESL-related hazards along coastal China, with implications for coastal regions worldwide. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract Coastal flooding is one of the most costly and deadly natural hazards facing the U.S. mid-Atlantic region today. Impacts in this heavily populated and economically significant region are caused by a combination of the location’s exposure and natural forcing from storms and sea level rise. Tropical cyclones (TCs) and midlatitude (ML) weather systems each have caused extreme coastal flooding in the region. Skew surge was computed over each tidal cycle for the past 40 years (1980–2019) at several tide gauges in the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays to compare the meteorological component of surge for each weather type. Although TCs cause higher mean surges, ML weather systems can produce surges just as severe and occur much more frequently, peaking in the cold season (November–March). Of the top 10 largest surge events, TCs account for 30%–45% in the Delaware and upper Chesapeake Bays and 40%–45% in the lower Chesapeake Bay. This percentage drops to 10%–15% for larger numbers of events in all regions. Mean sea level pressure and 500-hPa geopotential height (GPH) fields of the top 10 surge events from ML weather systems show a low pressure center west-southwest of “Delmarva” and a semistationary high pressure center to the northeast prior to maximum surge, producing strong easterly winds. Low pressure centers intensify under upper-level divergence as they travel eastward, and the high pressure centers are near the GPH ridges. During lower-bay events, the low pressure centers develop farther south, intensifying over warmer coastal waters, with a south-shifted GPH pattern relative to upper-bay events. Significance Statement Severe coastal flooding is a year-round threat in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region, and impacts are projected to increase in magnitude and frequency. Research into the meteorological contribution to storm surge, separate from mean sea level and tidal phase, will increase the scientific understanding and monitoring of changing atmospheric conditions. Tropical cyclones and midlatitude weather systems both significantly impact the mid-Atlantic region during different times of year. However, climate change may alter the future behavior of these systems differently. Understanding the synoptic environment and quantifying the surge response and subbay geographic variability of each weather system in this region will aid in public awareness, near-term emergency preparation, and long-term planning for coastal storms. 
    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    During tropical cyclones, processes including dune erosion, overwash, inundation, and storm-surge ebb can rapidly reshape barrier islands, thereby increasing coastal hazards and flood exposure inland. Relatively few measurements are available to evaluate the physical processes shaping coastal systems close to shore during these extreme events as it is inherently challenging to obtain reliable field data due to energetic waves and rapid bed level changes which can damage or shift instrumentation. However, such observations are critical toward improving and validating model forecasts of coastal storm hazards. To address these data and knowledge gaps, this study links hydrodynamic and meteorological observations with numerical modeling to 1) perform data-model inter-comparisons of relevant storm processes, namely infragravity (IG) waves, storm surge, and meteotsunamis; and 2) better understand the relative importance of each of these processes during hurricane impact.Recorded Presentation from the vICCE (YouTube Link): 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Sea level rise and intense hurricane events make the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States increasingly vulnerable to flooding, which necessitates the development of computational models for accurate water level simulation in these areas to safeguard the coastal wellbeing. With this regard, a model framework for water level simulation over coastal transition zone during hurricane events is built in this study. The model takes advantage of the National Water Model’s strength in simulating rainfall–runoff process, and D‐Flow Flexible Mesh’s ability to support unstructured grid in hydrodynamic processes simulation with storm surges/tides information from the Advanced CIRCulation model. We apply the model on the Delaware Estuary to simulate extreme water level and to investigate the contribution of different physical components to it during Hurricane Isabel (2003). The model shows satisfactory performance with an average Willmott skill of 0.965. Model results suggest that storm surge is the most dominating component of extreme water level with an average contribution of 78.16%, second by the astronomical tide with 19.52%. While the contribution of rivers is mainly restricted to the upper part of the estuary upstream of Schuylkill River, local wind‐induced water level is more pronounced with values larger than 0.2 m over most part of the estuary.

    more » « less