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Title: Future hurricane storm surge risk for the U.S. gulf and Florida coasts based on projections of thermodynamic potential intensity

Abstract

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 %, withmore » 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.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1324879
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-114029
Journal ID: ISSN 0165-0009
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Climatic Change; Journal Volume: 138; Journal Issue: 1-2
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
Climate change; flooding; hurricanes

Citation Formats

Balaguru, Karthik, Judi, David R., and Leung, L. Ruby. Future hurricane storm surge risk for the U.S. gulf and Florida coasts based on projections of thermodynamic potential intensity. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1728-8.
Balaguru, Karthik, Judi, David R., & Leung, L. Ruby. Future hurricane storm surge risk for the U.S. gulf and Florida coasts based on projections of thermodynamic potential intensity. United States. doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1728-8.
Balaguru, Karthik, Judi, David R., and Leung, L. Ruby. 2016. "Future hurricane storm surge risk for the U.S. gulf and Florida coasts based on projections of thermodynamic potential intensity". United States. doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1728-8.
@article{osti_1324879,
title = {Future hurricane storm surge risk for the U.S. gulf and Florida coasts based on projections of thermodynamic potential intensity},
author = {Balaguru, Karthik and Judi, David R. and Leung, L. Ruby},
abstractNote = {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.},
doi = {10.1007/s10584-016-1728-8},
journal = {Climatic Change},
number = 1-2,
volume = 138,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 6
}
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