Impacts of climate change on hurricane flood hazards in Jamaica Bay, New York

Reza Marsooli, Ning Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Sea level rise (SLR) and tropical cyclone (TC) climatology change could impact future flood hazards in Jamaica Bay—an urbanized back-barrier bay in New York—yet their compound impacts are not well understood. This study estimates the compound effects of SLR and TC climatology change on flood hazards in Jamaica Bay from a historical period in the late twentieth century (1980–2000) to future periods in the mid- and late-twenty-first century (2030–2050 and 2080–2100, under RCP8.5 greenhouse gas concentration scenario). Flood return periods are estimated based on probabilistic projections of SLR and peak storm tides simulated by a hydrodynamic model for large numbers of synthetic TCs. We find a substantial increase in the future flood hazards, e.g., the historical 100-year flood level would become a 9- and 1-year flood level in the mid- and late-twenty-first century and the 500-year flood level would become a 143- and 4-year flood level. These increases are mainly induced by SLR. However, TC climatology change would considerably contribute to the future increase in low-probability, high-consequence flood levels (with a return period greater than 100 year), likely due to an increase in the probability of occurrence of slow-moving but intense TCs by the end of twenty-first century. We further conduct high-resolution coastal flood simulations for a series of SLR and TC scenarios. Due to the SLR projected with a 5% exceedance probability, 125- and 1300-year flood events in the late-twentieth century would become 74- and 515-year flood events, respectively, in the late-twenty-first century, and the spatial extent of flooding over coastal floodplains of Jamaica Bay would increase by nearly 10 and 4 times, respectively. In addition, SLR leads to larger surface waves induced by TCs in the bay, suggesting a potential increase in hazards associated with wave runup, erosion, and damage to coastal infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2153-2171
Number of pages19
JournalClimatic Change
Volume163
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Flood hazards
  • Hurricane
  • Jamaica Bay
  • New York
  • Sea level rise

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