Statistical Characterization of Hazards and Risk in Coastal Areas

  • Donald T. Resio
  • Mark A. Tumeo
  • Jennifer L. Irish

Abstract

We examine the foundation for hazard/risk assessment and its application to coastal problems. Historically, emphasis was on specifying expected values of wind waves and storm surges; however, as shown by the recent tsunamis in Southeast Asia in 2004 and in Japan in 2011, there are critical parts of the world where tsunamis represent the dominant threat to coastal communities. Recently, there has been an increased awareness of the combined effects of heavy rainfall and/or river discharge with surge levels and strong winds. This forcing combination played an important role in the flooding in southern Louisiana during Hurricane Isaac in 2012, where water levels exceeded the 500-year return interval levels. Such forcing combinations complicate both the modeling systems required for their simulation and the treatment of the multivariate probabilities that define the relative importance of their impacts.

We begin with a set of consistent hazards and risk definitions, along with comparative definitions from other fields. This should help readers who have focused primarily on traditional coastal hazards and risks understand the broader context of risk assessment and also allow readers with a broader perspective gain insight into the specific nature of coastal hazards and risk. Following this, we introduce the basic concepts used in estimating coastal hazards and risks. We then examine the historical perspective for the evolution of coastal risk assessment, beginning with early deterministic methods and culminating in a recent transition to probabilistic methods. The steady increase in the ability of probabilistic methods to deal with persistent problems such as the lack of data and uncertainty is documented as a part of this transition.

CDF

cumulative distribution function

EST

empirical simulation technique

ETM

empirical track method

GPD

generalized Pareto distribution

HWM

high water mark

JPM

joint probability method

MPI

maximum possible intensity

OS

optimal sampling

PBL

planetary boundary layer

PDF

probability density function

PMH

probable maximum hurricane

RMS

root mean square

SPH

Standard Project Hurricane

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald T. Resio
    • 1
  • Mark A. Tumeo
    • 2
  • Jennifer L. Irish
    • 3
  1. 1.Dep. Civil EngineeringUniversity of North FloridaJacksonvilleUSA
  2. 2.College of Computing, Engineering & ConstructionUniversity of North FloridaJacksonvilleUSA
  3. 3.Dep. Civil and Environmental EngineeringVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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