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224 (1-24)


Low-lying coastal cities across the world are vulnerable to the combined impact of rainfall and storm tide. However, existing approaches lack the ability to model the combined effect of these flood mechanisms, especially under climate change and sea level rise (SLR). Thus, to increase flood resilience of coastal cities, modeling techniques to improve the understanding and prediction of the combined effect of these flood hazards are critical. To address this need, this study presents a modeling system for assessing the combined flood impact on coastal cities under selected future climate scenarios that leverages ocean modeling with land surface modeling capable of resolving urban drainage infrastructure within the city. The modeling approach is demonstrated in quantifying the impact of possible future climate scenarios on transportation infrastructure within Norfolk, Virginia, USA. A series of combined storm events are modeled for current (2020) and projected future (2070) climate scenarios. The results show that pluvial flooding causes a larger interruption to the transportation network compared to tidal flooding under current climate conditions. By 2070, however, tidal flooding will be the dominant flooding mechanism with even nuisance flooding expected to happen daily due to SLR. In 2070, nuisance flooding is expected to cause a 4.6% total link close time (TLC), which is more than two times that of a 50-year storm surge (1.8% TLC) in 2020. The coupled flood model was compared with a widely used but physically simplistic bathtub method to assess the difference resulting from the more complex modeling presented in this study. The results show that the bathtub method overestimated the flooded area near the shoreline by 9.5% and 3.1% for a 10-year storm surge event in 2020 and 2070, respectively, but underestimated the flooded area in the inland region by 9.0% and 4.0% for the same events. The findings demonstrate the benefit of sophisticated modeling methods compared to more simplistic bathtub approaches, in climate adaptive planning and policy in coastal communities.


© 2022 The Authors.

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited


0000-0001-9922-129X (Tahvildari)

Original Publication Citation

Shen, Y., Tahvildari, N., Morsy, M. M., Huxley, C., Chen, T. D., & Goodall, J. L. (2022). Dynamic modeling of inland flooding and storm surge on coastal cities under climate change scenarios: Transportation infrastructure impacts in Norfolk, Virginia USA as a case study. Geosciences, 12(6), 1-24, Article 224.