Storm surge projections and implications for water management in South Florida
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Water resource management in South Florida faces nearly intractable problems, in part due to weather and climate variability. Rising sea level and coastal storm surge are two phenomena with significant impacts on natural systems, fresh water supplies and flood drainage capability. However, decision support information regarding management of water resources in response to storm surge is not well developed. In an effort to address this need we analyze long term tidal records from Key West, Pensacola and Mayport Florida to extract surge distributions, to which we apply a nonlinear eustatic sea level rise model to project storm surge return levels and periods. Examination of climate connections reveals a statistically significant dependence between surge distributions and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Based on a recent probabilistic model for AMO phase changes, we develop AMO-dependent surge distributions. These AMO-dependent surge projections are used to examine the flood control response of a coastal water management structure as an example of how climate dependent water resource forcings can be used in the formulation of decision support tools.
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