[Special Atmos Seminar] Lin on " Hurricane Surge and Global Warming: Physically Based Risk Assessment"

Start Date/Time: Wednesday, February 08, 2012, 3:30 PM
Location: JHN 075

Speaker: Ning Lin, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Abstract: Hurricanes present major hazards for the United States and many other areas. Due to rising sea level and possibly increasing storm intensity, hurricane impact is likely to be more severe in the future, affecting a significant percentage of the world population in rapidly developing coastal regions. We develop physically-based risk assessment methods to study hurricane weather extremes, how they change with climate, and how to minimize their impact. This talk focuses on hurricane storm surge. We introduce a surge risk assessment method, which couples a General Circulation Model (GCM)-driven statistical/deterministic hurricane model with hydrodynamic models to simulate large numbers of synthetic surge events and predict surge risk under different climates. It considers the effects of the astronomical tide, wave setup, and sea-level rise (SLR). The method is applied, as an example, to New York City (NYC). Struck by many intense hurricanes in recorded history and prehistory, NYC is highly vulnerable to storm surge. We show that the surge level for NYC will likely increase due to the change of storm climatology by a magnitude comparable to the projected SLR. The combined effects of storm climatology change and SLR may greatly shorten the surge flooding return periods in the future.

Coordinators: Profs. Robert Houze (houze@atmos.washington.edu) and Dennis Lettenmaier (dennisl@u.washington.edu)