Future hurricane storm surge risk for the U.S. gulf and Florida coasts based on projections of thermodynamic potential intensity
- 1.3k Downloads
Coastal populations in the global tropics and sub-tropics are vulnerable to the devastating impacts of hurricane storm surge and this risk is only expected to rise under climate change. In this study, we address this issue for the U.S. Gulf and Florida coasts. Using the framework of Potential Intensity, observations and output from coupled climate models, we show that the future large-scale thermodynamic environment may become more favorable for hurricane intensification. Under the RCP 4.5 emissions scenario and for the peak hurricane season months of August–October, we show that the mean intensities of Atlantic hurricanes may increase by 1.8–4.2 % and their lifetime maximum intensities may increase by 2.7–5.3 % when comparing the last two decades of the 20th and 21st centuries. We then combine our estimates of hurricane intensity changes with projections of sea-level rise to understand their relative impacts on future storm surge using simulations with the National Weather Service’s SLOSH (Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes) model for five historical hurricanes that made landfall in the Gulf of Mexico and Florida. Considering uncertainty in hurricane intensity changes and sea-level rise, our results indicate a median increase in storm surge ranging between 25 and 47 %, with changes in hurricane intensity increasing future storm surge by about 10 % relative to the increase that may result from sea level rise alone, with highly non-linear response of population at risk.
KeywordsPotential Intensity Atlantic Hurricane Hurricane Intensity Hurricane Track Florida Coast
DR Judi and K Balaguru were partially supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Protection and Programs Directorate, Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis. LR Leung was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research Regional and Global Climate Modeling program. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is operated for DOE by Battelle Memorial Institute under contract DE-AC05-76RL01830.
- Balaguru K, Chang P, Saravanan R, Ruby Leung L, Xu Z, Li M, Hsieh J-S (2012) Ocean barrier layers’ effect on tropical cyclone intensification. Proc Natl Acad Sci 109(36):14343–14347Google Scholar
- Blake ES, Landsea C, Gibney EJ (2007) The deadliest, costliest, and most intense United States tropical cyclones from 1851 to 2006 (and other frequently requested hurricane facts). NOAA/National Weather Service, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, National Hurricane CenterGoogle Scholar
- Dobson JE, Bright EA, Coleman PR, Durfee RC, Worley BA (2000) LandScan: a global population database for estimating populations at risk. Photogramm Eng Remote Sens 66(7):849–857Google Scholar
- Glahn B, Taylor A, Kurkowski N, Shaffer WA (2009) The role of the SLOSH model in National Weather Service storm surge forecasting. National Weather Digest 33(1):3–14Google Scholar
- Knabb RD, Rhome JR, Brown DP (2005) Tropical cyclone report: hurricane Katrina, 23–30 august 2005. National Hurricane CenterGoogle Scholar
- Lin I-I, Chen C-H, Iam-Fei P, Liu WT, Chun-Chieh W (2009) Warm ocean anomaly, air sea fluxes, and the rapid intensification of tropical cyclone Nargis (2008). Geophys Res Lett 36(3). doi: 10.1029/2008GL035815
- Lin, Ning, Kerry A. Emanuel, J. A. Smith, and E. Vanmarcke. (2010) "Risk assessment of hurricane storm surge for New York City." J. Geophys. Res:Atmos. (1984–2012) 115(D18)Google Scholar
- Masson D, Knutti R (2011) Climate model genealogy. Geophys Res Lett 38(8)Google Scholar