Wednesday, 17 January 2007
Western Arctic storm surge and extreme cyclones: a factorial analysis of fifty years of flooding
Exhibit Hall C (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
This presentation describes our work to characterize the changes over the past five decades and improve the understanding of the broad range of factors affecting the occurrence of flooding in Barrow, Alaska. The study has an emphasis on interactions among these factors in a series of extreme cyclones that have affected the community. The return period for intense cyclones is one important measure of the changing climate around Barrow. However, our work has shown that the return periods for the high wind events associated with these cyclones may be changing with time in a non-linear way. The instability of the return period suggests that this quantity cannot be reasonably projected into the future with any confidence. Thus major uncertainties are inevitable. It would be prudent to take them into account in planning responses to flooding, and the research presented here is one contribution to those responses.
We have applied a numerical weather prediction model and a storm surge inundation model to the 21 case studies identified in National Weather Service data. Based on these models, we have developed a reduced form model which adequately describes this interaction.