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  1. Low-lying Coastal Landfill Neighborhoods (CLaNs) often have a large aspect ratio, defined here as the coastline length divided by neighborhood width, due to the common practice of reclaiming fringing wetlands along tidal waterways. Flood risk reduction for CLaNs frequently involves elevated barriers, in the form of berms, seawalls, or levees, which reduce risk but cannot completely eliminate residual risk (e.g., due to overtopping during extreme events). Managed retreat is an alternative approach for flood risk reduction, the general idea of which is to strategically ban development in hazard zones, relocate structures, and/or abandon land. This study aims at exploring the tradeoffs between elevated barriers and managed retreat in terms of both CLaN aspect ratio and storm climate, for both short-term and long-term risk reduction with sea-level rise. Hydrodynamic flood modeling of an idealized CLaN protected by different adaptation plans is used to simulate flood conditions and mortality for a range of storm surge amplitudes for both the present-day and under different sea-level rise scenarios. Results show that for a berm and a case of managed retreat of an equal cost, retreat becomes more beneficial than the berm in terms of mortality risk reduction for neighborhoods with a larger aspect ratio. The study also shows that berms are generally less effective for reducing mortality in regions with less common but higher intensity storms. This study reveals the potential of idealized modeling to provide fundamental insights on the physical factors influencing the efficacy of different adaptation strategies for mortality risk reduction. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    Gated storm surge barriers are being studied by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for coastal storm risk management for the New York City metropolitan area. Surge barrier gates are only closed when storm tides exceeding a specific “trigger” water level might occur in a storm. Gate closure frequency and duration both strongly influence the physical and environmental effects on enclosed estuaries. In this paper, we use historical observations to represent future storm tide hazard, and we superimpose local relative sea-level rise (SLR) to study the potential future changes to closure frequency and duration. We account for the effects of forecast uncertainty on closures, using a relationship between past storm surge and forecast uncertainty from an operational ensemble forecast system. A concern during a storm surge is that closed gates will trap river streamflow and could cause a new problem with trapped river water flooding. Similarly, we evaluate this possibility using historical data to represent river flood hazard, complemented by hydrodynamic model simulations to capture how waters rise when a hypothetical barrier is closed. The results show that SLR causes an exponential increase of the gate closure frequency, a lengthening of the closure duration, and a rising probability of trapped river water flooding. The USACE has proposed to prevent these SLR-driven increases by periodically raising the trigger water level (e.g., to match a prescribed storm return period). However, this alternative management approach for dealing with SLR requires waterfront seawalls to be raised at a high, and ongoing, additional future expense. For seawalls, costs and benefits will likely need to be weighed on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis, and in some cases retreat or other non-structural options may be preferable. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Nuisance flooding (NF) is defined as minor, nondestructive flooding that causes substantial, accumulating socioeconomic impacts to coastal communities. While sea-level rise is the main driver for the observed increase in NF events in the United States, we show here that secular changes in tides also contribute. An analysis of 40 tidal gauge records from U.S. coasts finds that, at 18 locations, NF increased due to tidal amplification, while decreases in tidal range suppressed NF at 11 locations. Estuaries show the largest changes in NF attributable to tide changes, and these can often be traced to anthropogenic alterations. Limited long-term measurements from estuaries suggest that the effects of evolving tides are more widespread than the locations considered here. The total number of NF days caused by tidal changes has increased at an exponential rate since 1950, adding ~27% to the total number of NF events observed in 2019 across locations with tidal amplification. 
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  4. Abstract

    In 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of the United States, creating widespread coastal flooding and over $60 billion in reported economic damage. The potential influence of climate change on the storm itself has been debated, but sea level rise driven by anthropogenic climate change more clearly contributed to damages. To quantify this effect, here we simulate water levels and damage both as they occurred and as they would have occurred across a range of lower sea levels corresponding to different estimates of attributable sea level rise. We find that approximately $8.1B ($4.7B–$14.0B, 5th–95th percentiles) of Sandy’s damages are attributable to climate-mediated anthropogenic sea level rise, as is extension of the flood area to affect 71 (40–131) thousand additional people. The same general approach demonstrated here may be applied to impact assessments for other past and future coastal storms.

     
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  5. null (Ed.)
    Abstract. In recent centuries, human activities have greatly modified thegeomorphology of coastal regions. However, studies of historical andpossible future changes in coastal flood extremes typically ignore theinfluence of geomorphic change. Here, we quantify the influence of 20th-century man-made changes to Jamaica Bay, New York City, on present-day storm tides. We develop and validate a hydrodynamic model for the 1870s based on detailed maps of bathymetry, seabed characteristics, topography, and tide observations for use alongside a present-day model. Predominantly through dredging, landfill, and inlet stabilization, the average water depth of the bay increased from 1.7 to 4.5 m, tidal surface area decreased from 92 to 72 km2, and the inlet minimum cross-sectional area expanded from 4800 to 8900 m2. Total (freshwater plus salt) marsh habitat area has declined from 61 to 15 km2 and intertidal unvegetated habitat area from 17 to 4.6 km2. A probabilistic flood hazard assessment with simulations of 144 storm events reveals that the landscape changes caused an increase of 0.28 m (12 %) in the 100-year storm tide, even larger than the influence of global sea level rise of about 0.23 m since the 1870s. Specific anthropogenic changes to estuary depth and area as well as inlet depth and width are shown through targeted modeling and dynamics-based considerations to be the most important drivers of increasing storm tides. 
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  6. Abstract

    We demonstrate that long‐term tidally induced changes in extreme sea levels affect estimates of major flood hazard in a predictable way. Long‐term variations in tides due to the 4.4 and 18.6‐year cycles influence extreme sea levels at 380 global tide gauges out of a total of 581 analyzed. Results show coherent regions where the amplitudes of the modulations are particularly relevant in the 100‐year return sea level, reaching more than 20 cm in some regions (western Europe, north Australia, and Singapore). We identify locations that are currently in a positive phase of the modulation and therefore at a higher risk of flooding, as well as when (year) the next peak of the long‐term tidal modulations is expected to occur. The timing of the peak of the modulation is spatially coherent and influenced by the relative importance of each cycle (4.4 or 18.6‐year) over the total amplitude. An evaluation of four locations suggests that the potentially flooded area in a 100‐year event can vary up to ∼45% (in Boston) as a result of the long‐term tidal cycles; however, the flooded area varies due to local topography and tidal characteristics (6%–13%). We conclude that tidally modulated changes in extreme sea levels can alter the potentially inundated area in a 100‐year event and that the traditional, fixed 100‐year floodplain is inadequate for describing coastal flood risk, even without considering sea‐level rise.

     
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