8.1
A Modeling Study of Storm Surge and Its Impacts to Coastal Energy Infrastructure under Extreme Events in the Gulf of Mexico

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Thursday, 10 January 2013: 11:00 AM
A Modeling Study of Storm Surge and Its Impacts to Coastal Energy Infrastructure under Extreme Events in the Gulf of Mexico
Room 18B (Austin Convention Center)
Zhaoqing Yang, PNNL, Seattle, WA; and T. Wang, L. R. Leung, K. A. Hibbard, A. Janetos, I. Kraucunas, J. S. Rice, B. L. Preston, and T. Wilbanks

A regional integrated assessment modeling (RIAM) framework is under development to investigate the interactions between climate policy, climate impacts and adaptation, agriculture and land use issues, coastal issues, and energy supply and demand issues in the US Southeast, with a focus on the areas bordering the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico is vulnerable to the direct impacts of climate changes, such as sea level rise, hurricane-induced storm surge and extreme floods due to high precipitation and river run-off. This paper presents an application of the coastal modeling component of RIAM to quantify coastal inundation induced by storm surge, sea level rise and subsidence in the coastal region of Gulf of Mexico under current and future climate change conditions and to understand the implications for energy infrastructure and operations. An unstructured-grid Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM), externally coupled with atmospheric forcing for tropical cyclones from Weather Research Forecasting model (WRF) simulations, is used in this study. Specifically, the coastal storm surge model for the Gulf of Mexico will be validated against observations for selected historical hurricane events. Future (30 to 50 years) storm surges will be simulated with the validated model for a series of future tropical cycle tracks generated from the WRF outputs. Future sea level rise predicted from global models and coastal subsidence will be also taken into account in the model simulations. Implication of coastal inundation and its impacts to energy infrastructure in the Gulf coast as well as model uncertainty and scale issues will be discussed.