Articles | Volume 17, issue 3
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 315–334, 2017
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 315–334, 2017

Research article 07 Mar 2017

Research article | 07 Mar 2017

An examination of land use impacts of flooding induced by sea level rise

Jie Song1, Xinyu Fu1, Yue Gu1, Yujun Deng1, and Zhong-Ren Peng1,2,3 Jie Song et al.
  • 1Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, FL 32611, USA
  • 2Center for Intelligent Transportation Systems and Unmanned Aerial Systems Applications, State Key Laboratory of Ocean Engineering, School of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Civil Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
  • 3China Institute for Urban Governance, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China

Abstract. Coastal regions become unprecedentedly vulnerable to coastal hazards that are associated with sea level rise. The purpose of this paper is therefore to simulate prospective urban exposure to changing sea levels. This article first applied the cellular-automaton-based SLEUTH model (Project Gigalopolis, 2016) to calibrate historical urban dynamics in Bay County, Florida (USA) – a region that is greatly threatened by rising sea levels. This paper estimated five urban growth parameters by multiple-calibration procedures that used different Monte Carlo iterations to account for modeling uncertainties. It then employed the calibrated model to predict three scenarios of urban growth up to 2080 – historical trend, urban sprawl, and compact development. We also assessed land use impacts of four policies: no regulations; flood mitigation plans based on the whole study region and on those areas that are prone to experience growth; and the protection of conservational lands. This study lastly overlaid projected urban areas in 2030 and 2080 with 500-year flooding maps that were developed under 0, 0.2, and 0.9 m sea level rise. The calibration results that a substantial number of built-up regions extend from established coastal settlements. The predictions suggest that total flooded area of new urbanized regions in 2080 would be more than 25 times that under the flood mitigation policy, if the urbanization progresses with few policy interventions. The joint model generates new knowledge in the domain between land use modeling and sea level rise. It contributes to coastal spatial planning by helping develop hazard mitigation schemes and can be employed in other international communities that face combined pressure of urban growth and climate change.

Short summary
Coastal settlements face unprecedented pressures from sea level variations. To investigate such issues, we applied a land change model to simulate three scenarios of urban growth under different land use policies and validated the model in Bay County, Florida (USA). The work shows that strict flood mitigation strategies mitigate greatly the urban exposure to sea-level-rise-induced flooding. Planners and hazard mitigation teams can use the procedures to strengthen coastal planning and management.
Final-revised paper