Modeling Earth Systems and Environment

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 97–109 | Cite as

Hurricane Matthew (2016) and its impact under global warming scenarios

  • Mansur Ali Jisan
  • Shaowu Bao
  • Leonard J. Pietrafesa
  • Dongliang Shen
  • Paul T. Gayes
  • Jason Hallstrom
Original Article


A coupled atmosphere–ocean model was used to study the impact of future ocean warming, both at and below the water surface, on hurricane track and intensity and the associated coastal storm surge and inundation. A strong Saffir–Simpson Category-5 hurricane, Hurricane Matthew made landfall on the South Carolina (SC) coast of the United States (US) in September 2016 and was used as our study case. Future ocean warming was calculated based on the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) RCP 2.6 and RCP 8.5 scenarios. Validated setup of the model was used to simulate the changes in track, intensity, storm surge, and inundation of Hurricane Matthew under future climate ocean warming scenarios. Results showed that the future ocean warming could make the hurricanes stronger in intensity, which, in turn, will greatly increase subsequent coastal storm surge and inundation. For example, under the RCP 8.5 scenario, Matthew’s maximum wind speed would increase by 18 knots (12.97%), its minimum sea-level pressure would deepen by 26 hPa (2.78%), and the coastal area inundated would increase by 70.20% from that of the present day. Moreover, the increases in coastal surge and inundation could likely lead to a downstream blocking of upstream water systems, thereby exacerbating upstream lateral flooding as the rivers go into storage modes; but that potential is beyond the scope of this study.


Hurricane Ocean warming Storm surge Climate change Inundation 



The National Science Foundation (NSF) is acknowledged for undergirding this research effort. Coastal Carolina University’s (CCU) Cyber Infrastructure Project is used to perform the simulations in this study, which is funded by NSF Major Research Instrument under contract AGS-1624068. Two NSF awards supporting the investigations of the processes of storm-induced coastal surge and inundation and inland flooding are CNS-1541917 and CNS-1713922. The SC State Guard is acknowledged for encouraging that prognostic studies such as this be conducted, so that they may be better prepared for future environmental hazardous events. CCU is acknowledged for providing the facility computational time support for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Coastal and Marine Systems ScienceCoastal Carolina UniversityConwayUSA
  2. 2.Shanghai Ocean UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Florida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA

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