- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- 1287 to 1300
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Abstract Tropical cyclones (TCs) are drivers of extreme rainfall and surge, but the current and future TC rainfall–surge joint hazard has not been well quantified. Using a physics-based approach to simulate TC rainfall and storm tides, we show drastic increases in the joint hazard from historical to projected future (SSP5–8.5) conditions. The frequency of joint extreme events (exceeding both hazards’ historical 100-year levels) may increase by 7–36-fold in the southern US and 30–195-fold in the Northeast by 2100. This increase in joint hazard is induced by sea-level rise and TC climatology change; the relative contribution of TC climatology change is higher than that of sea-level rise for 96% of the coast, largely due to rainfall increases. Increasing storm intensity and decreasing translation speed are the main TC change factors that cause higher rainfall and storm tides and up to 25% increase in their dependence.more » « less
Estimating the magnitude of tropical cyclone (TC) rainfall at different landfalling stages is an important aspect of the TC forecast that directly affects the level of response from emergency managers. In this study, a climatology of the TC rainfall magnitude as a function of the location of the TC centers within distance intervals from the coast and the percentage of the raining area over the land is presented on a global scale. A total of 1834 TCs in the period from 2000 until 2019 are analyzed using satellite information to characterize the precipitation magnitude, volumetric rain, rainfall area, and axial-symmetric properties within the proposed landfalling categories, with an emphasis on the postlandfall stages. We found that TCs experience rainfall maxima in regions adjacent to the coast when more than 50% of their rainfall area is over the water. TC rainfall is also analyzed over the entire TC extent and the portion over land. When the total extent is considered, rainfall intensity, volumetric rain, and rainfall area increase with wind speed intensity. However, once it is quantified over the land only, we found that rainfall intensity exhibits a nearly perfect inversely proportional relation with the increase in TC rainfall area. In addition, when a TC with life maximum intensity of a major hurricane makes landfall as a tropical depression or tropical storm, it usually produces the largest spatial extent and the highest volumetric rain.
This study aims to describe the cycle of tropical cyclone (TC) precipitation magnitude through a new approach that defines the landfall categories as a function of the percentage of the TC precipitating area over the land and ocean, along with the location of the TC centers within distance intervals from the coast. Our central hypothesis is that TC rainfall should exhibit distinct features in the long-term satellite time series for each of the proposed stages. We particularly focused on the overland events due to their effects on human activities, finding that the TCs that at some point of their life cycle reached major hurricane strength and made landfall as a tropical storm or tropical depression produced the highest volumetric rain over the land surface. This research also presents key observational evidence of the relationship between the rain rate, raining area, and volumetric rain for landfalling TCs.
Compound flooding, characterized by the co‐occurrence of multiple flood mechanisms, is a major threat to coastlines across the globe. Tropical cyclones (TCs) are responsible for many compound floods due to their storm surge and intense rainfall. Previous efforts to quantify compound flood hazard have typically adopted statistical approaches that may be unable to fully capture spatio‐temporal dynamics between rainfall‐runoff and storm surge, which ultimately impact total water levels. In contrast, we pose a physics‐driven approach that utilizes a large set of realistic TC events and a simplified physics‐based rainfall model and simulates each event within a hydrodynamic model framework. We apply our approach to investigate TC flooding in the Cape Fear River, NC. We find TC approach angle, forward speed, and intensity are relevant for compound flood potential, but rainfall rate and time lag between the centroid of rainfall and peak storm tide are the strongest predictors of compounding magnitude. Neglecting rainfall underestimates 100‐year flood depths across 28% of the floodplain, and taking the maximum of each hazard modeled separately still underestimates 16% of the floodplain. We find the main stem of the river is surge‐dominated, upstream portions of small streams and pluvial areas are rainfall dominated, but midstream portions of streams are compounding zones, and areas close to the coastline are surge dominated for lower return periods but compounding zones for high return periods (100 years). Our method links joint rainfall‐surge occurrence to actual flood impacts and demonstrates how compound flooding is distributed across coastal catchments.
Coastal areas are subject to the joint risk associated with rainfall‐driven flooding and storm surge hazards. To capture this dependency and the compound nature of these hazards, bivariate modelling represents a straightforward and easy‐to‐implement approach that relies on observational records. Most existing applications focus on a single tide gauge–rain gauge/streamgauge combination, limiting the applicability of bivariate modelling to develop high‐resolution space–time design events that can be used to quantify the dynamic, that is, varying in space and time, compound flood hazard in coastal basins. Moreover, there is a need to recognize that not all extreme events always come from a single population, but can reflect a mixture of different generating mechanisms. Therefore, this paper describes an empirical approach to develop design storms with high‐resolution in space and time (i.e., ~5 km and hourly) for different joint annual exceedance probabilities. We also stratify extreme rainfall and storm surge events depending on whether they were caused by tropical cyclones (TCs) or not. We find that there are significant differences between the TC and non‐TC populations, with very different dependence structures that are missed if we treat all the events as coming from a single population. While we apply this methodology to one basin near Houston, Texas, our approach is general enough to make it applicable for any coastal basin exposed to compounding flood hazards from storm surge and rainfall‐induced flooding.
Tropical cyclone (TC) events are major drivers of compound flooding due to the interaction of wind‐driven storm surge and TC rainfall. Traditionally, coastal flood risk models have only taken into account surge flooding, even though it is known that the role of rainfall‐runoff is critical. There is limited understanding about the types of TC events that are capable of producing significant compounding and how site conditions at the coast affect the extent to which storm surge and rainfall‐runoff interact. This study investigates a suite of historical TCs making landfall near the Cape Fear River Estuary, NC, through a loosely coupled physical modeling methodology in order to draw conclusions about the spatial and temporal patterns of storm surge and rainfall that are able to induce significant compound impacts. Results indicate that intense outer rain bands falling over inland portions of the study area can be a driver of river‐surge compounding (increasing river levels by up to 0.36 m), while intense eyewall rainfall along the coast can result in localized compound impacts to coastal streams and tributaries if peak rainfall occurs near the time of peak storm tide. These localized compound impacts can result in defined interaction zones, where neither storm tide alone nor rainfall‐runoff alone can fully explain the observed maximum water levels. These results provide insight about the relative timing and spatial patterns of rainfall and storm surge that are capable of inducing compound flooding during TC events.