92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 4:30 PM
Energy Facility Storm Surge Risk
Room 345 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Megan Lickley, MIT, Cambridge, MA; and H. Jacoby

The 2005 hurricane season was particularly damaging to the United States, contributing to significant losses to energy infrastructure --much of it a result of flooding from storm surges during hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Previous research suggests that these events are not isolated, but rather foreshadow a risk that is to continue and likely increase with a changing climate [1]. Since extensive energy infrastructure exists along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts, these facilities are exposed to an increasing risk of flooding. We study the combined impacts of anticipated sea level rise and hurricane activity on energy infrastructure in these regions with a first application to Galveston Bay. Using future climate conditions as projected by four different GCMs, we model the change in hurricane activity from present day climate conditions, in response to a climate projected in 2100 under the IPCC A1b emissions scenario using hurricane analysis developed by Emanuel [2]. We apply the results from hurricane runs from each model to the SLOSH model (Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes) [3] to investigate the change in frequency and distribution of surge heights across climates. Further, we incorporate uncertainty surrounding the magnitude of sea level rise, resulting in more detailed projections of risk levels and for energy infrastructure over the next century.

[1] Knutson, Thomas R. et al. “Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change.” Nature Geosci 3.3 (2010): 157-163 [2] Emanuel K, Sundararajan R, Williams J. Hurricanes and global warming: results from downscaling IPCC AR4 simulations. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 2008; 89: 347–67. [3] Lin, N., K. A. Emanuel, J. A. Smith, and E. Vanmarcke, 2010: Risk assessment of hurricane storm surge for New York City. J. Geophys. Res., 115, D18121, doi:10.1029/2009JD013630

Supplementary URL: