NYS RISE contributions to enhance resiliency of New York State against impacts of Sandy-like storms

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 3:45 PM
221A-C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Edmund K. M. Chang, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY; and M. Zhang and B. Colle

Handout (3.9 MB)

The New York State Resiliency Institute for Storms and Emergencies (NYS RISE) is a consortium of Stony Brook University, New York University, Columbia University, Cornell University, City University of New York, and Brookhaven National Laboratory. Its mission objectives include improvement of rapid warning, enhancement of near-term forecasts and long-range forecasts, and scenario analysis of extreme weather events, as well as impact of climate change. NYS RISE is also charged with providing rapid assessment of storm impacts and recommending investment strategies for recovery, reconstruction, and resilience projects. As such, NYS RISE emphasizes end-to-end research and products that can be used by policymakers and stakeholders.

In this presentation, some of the work within the institute relating to resiliency against impacts of Sandy-like tropical cyclones across multiple timescales will be highlighted. A broader overview of the work of the institute will be provided in a separate presentation.

To provide additional guidance for emergency responders and policy makers, a set of physical models, which includes a Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) ensemble, the Advanced Circulation (ADCIRC) model, and Simulating Waves Nearshore (SWAN), are coupled with a state-of-the-art immersive Gigapixel display (Reality Deck), which includes 416 monitors along the walls of a large room, as well as evacuation models. Hurricane Sandy is used a test case for the system. The goal is to develop a rapid warning system for coastal and inland flooding.

In the seasonal timeframe, a novel hybrid dynamical statistical forecast model has been developed to provide seasonal prediction of tropical cyclone activity affecting New York State. Cross-validated hindcasts made by the model show substantial skills for the years 1979-2013. For 2014, the model predicts a probability of 30% for one or more tropical cyclones crossing New York State, which is below the climatological mean of 43%. For future years, an initial forecast based on CFSv2 forecasts of the large scale atmosphere-ocean conditions can be issued in March, with an update issued in June, to provide valuable information for emergency responders and policy makers in New York State to prepare for the upcoming tropical cyclone season.

Sea level rise is projected for coastal communities in New York State under different climate change scenarios. Climate change is shown to substantially increase the risks of storm surges related to Sandy-like storms due to inundation of some coastal areas with significant infrastructure, wastewater treatment facilities, and property assets. The impact of projected sea level rise on coastal evacuation zones is also presented. Results are organized in Geographical Information System (GIS) format for policymakers and in 3-D visualization system for communication with the public.