3.4 Exploring Coastal Hazards in Virginia and North Carolina via Reanalysis of 2011 Hurricane Irene with Future Sea Level Rise

Monday, 8 January 2018: 2:45 PM
Room 12B (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Andrew L. Molthan, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA; and D. Loftis, J. R. Bell, J. Srikishen, D. Sun, D. Bekaert, S. Cohen, J. J. Murray, and D. S. Green

Strong cyclones along the U.S. eastern seaboard produce several unique coastal hazards that result from the combination of heavy inland rainfall and storm surge that accompany events ranging from strong Nor’easters to tropical storms and major hurricanes. Combined with longer-term challenges of rising sea levels attributed to coastal subsidence and steric expansion, impacts from these events are expected to increase, especially in coastal communities. In 2017, NASA’s Earth Science Disasters Program hosted a regional workshop to explore these issues with particular focus on coastal Virginia and North Carolina, given impacts that NASA’s Langley Research Center and the community of Hampton Roads had experienced from several past events. The workshop brought together partners in academia, emergency management, and scientists from NASA and partnering federal agencies to explore capabilities among the team that could improve understanding of the physical processes related to these hazards, their potential impact to these changing communities, and identify methodologies for supporting emergency response and risk mitigation. A pilot research initiative was developed to examine coastal hazards in a number of ways, including: 1) reanalysis of impacts from 2011 Hurricane Irene, using numerical weather modeling in combination with coastal surge and hydrodynamic, urban inundation modeling to evaluate combined impact scenarios considering sea level rise, 2) remote sensing of flood extent from available optical and synthetic aperture radar useful for identifying storm impacts and as precursors for future response efforts, 3) adding value to remotely sensed flood maps through depth predictions and related efforts, and 4) examining coastal subsidence as measured through time-series analysis of synthetic aperture radar observations. This presentation will highlight early outcomes of the pilot activities and describe opportunities for future collaborations within the NASA Earth Science Disasters Program with a vision towards examining and understanding coastal hazards through application of these concepts to other regions.
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