Influence of risk factors and past events on flood resilience in coastal megacities: Comparative analysis of NYC and Shanghai

Siyuan Xian, Jie Yin, Ning Lin, Michael Oppenheimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Coastal flood protection measures have been widely implemented to improve flood resilience. However, protection levels vary among coastal megacities globally. This study compares the distinct flood protection standards for two coastal megacities, New York City and Shanghai, and investigates potential influences such as risk factors and past flood events. Extreme value analysis reveals that, compared to NYC, Shanghai faces a significantly higher flood hazard. Flood inundation analysis indicates that Shanghai has a higher exposure to extreme flooding. Meanwhile, Shanghai's urban development, population, and economy have increased much faster than NYC's over the last three decades. These risk factors provide part of the explanation for the implementation of a relatively high level of protection (e.g. reinforced concrete sea-wall designed for a 200-year flood return level) in Shanghai and low protection (e.g. vertical brick and stone walls and sand dunes) in NYC. However, individual extreme flood events (typhoons in 1962, 1974, and 1981) seem to have had a greater impact on flood protection decision-making in Shanghai, while NYC responded significantly less to past events (with the exception of Hurricane Sandy). Climate change, sea level rise, and ongoing coastal development are rapidly changing the hazard and risk calculus for both cities and both would benefit from a more systematic and dynamic approach to coastal protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1251-1261
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume610-611
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

Keywords

  • Coastal megacities
  • Coastal resilience
  • Decision making
  • Exposure at risk
  • Flood hazard
  • Flood protection

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