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New Mapping Tool and Techniques for Visualizing Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts

Kelly Knee, Director of Coastal hazards Services, RPS ASA; Jamie Carter, NOAA Coastal Services Center
Monday, June 16 @ 12:20pm


It is one thing to have a discussion or write about a one or two foot rise in the ocean surface and potential impacts to a local community; it is another to show someone a map highlighting the areas that could be permanently lost or use the increased base water level to model how storm tide elevations may be impacted by climate change.

The ability to visualize the potential depth and inland extent of water gives us a better understanding of the corresponding impacts and consequences. Mapping sea level changes in a geographic information system (GIS) gives the user the ability to overlay the potentially impacted areas with other data such as critical infrastructure, roads, ecologically sensitive areas, demographics, and economics. Providing maps on the Web via Internet mapping technologies enables the user to have an interactive experience that truly brings out the “visual” part of the map definition.

Over the past several years, the Coastal Services Center developed new techniques to map sea level rise and coastal flooding impacts using high-resolution lidar-based elevation data. A map viewer displays flooding impacts on local public infrastructure, mapping confidence, flooding frequency, marsh impacts, and social and economic impacts from potential inundation. The first half of this presentation will provide an overview of NOAA’s Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer and look at local applications of the data, and mechanisms for obtaining the data.

The second half of the presentation will focus on how NOAA’s Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model can be used to incorporate sea level rise into predictions of future storm tides. Model inputs including hurricane parameters, model grid, and water level will be described.

There are pros and cons to using any model to predict storm surge. In the case of SLOSH, the model is computationally efficient and requires readily available, assumed, or parameterized inputs allowing it to be used operationally by the National Hurricane Center and making it a useful tool for ensemble modeling and screening level studies of potential storm surge impacts. However, the model does not include tides, waves, precipitation, or river flow. To this end, the use of SLOSH in place of a more advanced numerical model such as ADCIRC or FVCOM will be discussed and the results of a climate change vulnerability study that used SLOSH will be presented.


Extended abstract with visual details.
3156 kb uploaded June 3, 2014 9:24am

Presentation Slides
4023 kb uploaded September 30, 2014 4:52pm