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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-132
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-132
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  05 Jun 2020

05 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Current and Future Climate Compound-Event Flood Impact on Coastal Critical Infrastructures

Mariam Khanam1, Giulia Sofia1, Marika Koukoula1, Rehenuma Lazin1, Efthymios Nikolopoulos2, Xinyi Shen1, and Emmanouil Anagnostou1 Mariam Khanam et al.
  • 1Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
  • 2Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL 32901, USA

Abstract. The changing climate and adverse anthropogenic activities raise the likelihood of damages due to compound flood hazards, triggered by the combined occurrence of extreme precipitation and storm surge during high tides, and exacerbated by sea-level rise (SLR). Risk estimates associated with these extreme event scenarios are expected to be significantly higher than estimates derived from a standard evaluation of individual hazards. In this study, we present case studies of compound flood hazards affecting critical infrastructure (CI) in coastal Connecticut (USA) based on actual and synthetic (that is, under future climate conditions) hurricane events, represented by heavy precipitation and surge combined with high tides and SLR conditions. We used the Hydrologic Engineering Center's River Analysis System (HEC-RAS), a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model to simulate the combined coastal and riverine flooding on selected CI sites. We forced a distributed hydrological model (CREST-SVAS) with weather analysis data from the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model for the synthetic events and from the National Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS) for the actual events, to derive the upstream boundary condition (flood wave) of HEC-RAS. We extracted coastal tide and surge time series for each event from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to use as the downstream boundary condition of HEC-RAS. The significant outcome of this study represents the evaluation of changes in flood risk for the CI sites for the various compound scenarios (under current and future climate conditions). This approach offers an estimate of the potential impact of compound hazards relative to the 100-year flood maps produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is vital to developing mitigation strategies. In a broader sense, this study provides a framework for assessing risk factors of our modern infrastructure located in vulnerable coastal areas throughout the world.

Mariam Khanam et al.

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Mariam Khanam et al.

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Latest update: 14 Aug 2020
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Short summary
Compound extremes correspond to events with multiple concurrent or consecutive drivers, leading to substantial impacts such as infrastructure failure. In many risk assessment and design applications, however, multihazard scenarios events are ignored. In this paper, we present a general framework to investigate current and Future Climate Compound-Event Flood Impact on Coastal Critical Infrastructures such as power-grid substations.
Compound extremes correspond to events with multiple concurrent or consecutive drivers, leading...
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