Climatic Change

, Volume 118, Issue 2, pp 487–500 | Cite as

Comparison of three methods for estimating the sea level rise effect on storm surge flooding

  • Keqi ZhangEmail author
  • Yuepeng Li
  • Huiqing Liu
  • Hongzhou Xu
  • Jian Shen


Two linear methods, including the simple linear addition and linear addition by expansion, and numerical simulations were employed to estimate storm surges and associated flooding caused by Hurricane Andrew for scenarios of sea level rise (SLR) from 0.15 m to 1.05 m with an interval of 0.15 m. The interaction between storm surge and SLR is almost linear at the open Atlantic Ocean outside Biscayne Bay, with slight reduction in peak storm surge heights as sea level rises. The nonlinear interaction between storm surges and SLR is weak in Biscayne Bay, leading to small differences in peak storm surge heights estimated by three methods. Therefore, it is appropriate to estimate elevated storm surges caused by SLR in these areas by adding the SLR magnitude to storm surge heights. However, the magnitude and extent of inundation at the mainland area by Biscayne Bay estimated by numerical simulations are, respectively, 22–24 % and 16–30 % larger on average than those generated by the linear addition by expansion and the simple linear addition methods, indicating a strong nonlinear interaction between storm surge and SLR. The population and property affected by the storm surge inundation estimated by numerical simulations differ up to 50–140 % from that estimated by two linear addition methods. Therefore, it is inappropriate to estimate the exacerbated magnitude and extent of storm surge flooding and affected population and property caused by SLR by using the linear addition methods. The strong nonlinear interaction between surge flooding and SLR at a specific location occurs at the initial stage of SLR when the water depth under an elevated sea level is less than 0.7 m, while the interaction becomes linear as the depth exceeds 0.7 m.


Storm Surge Linear Addition Extreme Water Level Storm Surge Height Surge Flooding 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Mr. Mac Sisson at Virginia Institute of Marine Science for reviewing the manuscript. We would also like to thank three anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions. This work is funded under a grant from the Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications Program of the NOAA Climate Program Office. The views expressed represent those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of NOAA.

Supplementary material

10584_2012_645_MOESM1_ESM.docx (41 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 40 kb)
10584_2012_645_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (1.7 mb)
ESM 2 (PDF 1753 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keqi Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Yuepeng Li
    • 2
  • Huiqing Liu
    • 2
  • Hongzhou Xu
    • 2
  • Jian Shen
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Earth and EnvironmentFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.International Hurricane Research CenterFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Virginia Institute of Marine ScienceCollege of William and MaryGloucester PointUSA

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