Flood severity along US coastline has worsened

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    Jul 30, 2015 5:38 AM GMT
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2736.html
    Increasing risk of compound flooding from storm surge and rainfall for major US cities

    Nature Climate Change (2015) doi:10.1038/nclimate2736 Received 24 February 2015 Accepted 25 June 2015 Published online 27 July 2015

    When storm surge and heavy precipitation co-occur, the potential for flooding in low-lying coastal areas is often much greater than from either in isolation. Knowing the probability of these compound events and understanding the processes driving them is essential to mitigate the associated high-impact risks1, 2. Here we determine the likelihood of joint occurrence of these two phenomena for the contiguous United States (US) and show that the risk of compound flooding is higher for the Atlantic/Gulf coast relative to the Pacific coast. We also provide evidence that the number of compound events has increased significantly over the past century at many of the major coastal cities. Long-term sea-level rise is the main driver for accelerated flooding along the US coastline, 4; however, under otherwise stationary conditions (no trends in individual records), changes in the joint distributions of storm surge and precipitation associated with climate variability and change also augment flood potential. For New York City (NYC)—as an example—the observed increase in compound events is attributed to a shift towards storm surge weather patterns that also favour high precipitation. Our results demonstrate the importance of assessing compound flooding in a non-stationary framework and its linkages to weather and climate.
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    Jul 30, 2015 5:38 AM GMT
    http://theconversation.com/flood-severity-along-us-coastline-has-worsened-45208

    Flood severity along US coastline has worsened
    July 27, 2015

    Flooding is a well-known natural hazard along the US coastline. Nearly 40% of the US population resides in its coastal counties....

    ...In a study (see OP) published in the journal Nature Climate Change, we assembled long historical records of rainfall, tide gauge readings and hurricane tracks to assess the simultaneous occurrence of heavy precipitation on land and storm surges. The combination of these two – heavy rain and storm surges driven mainly by the wind from storms – can result in “compound” floods.

    We found that along large coastline stretches around the US, a systematic linkage exists between the two important drivers for coastal flooding, making it more likely that the two occur in tandem. Our analysis showed that over the past century, the number of compound flood events for many US coastal cities has increased.

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    Jul 31, 2015 10:34 PM GMT
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