The Impact of Climate Change on Hurricane Flooding Inundation, Property Damages, and Population Affected
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Flooding inundation during hurricanes has been very costly and dangerous. However, the impact of climate change on hurricane flooding is not well understood at present. As sea surface temperatures increase, it is expected that hurricane intensity will increase and sea levels will rise. It is further hypothesized that climate change will increase hurricane flooding inundation, which would increase property damages and adversely affect a greater number of people. This thesis presents a case study of Corpus Christi, Texas, which analyzes the impact of climate change on hurricane flooding. Sea level rise projections and intensification of historical hurricanes were considered in this study. Storm surges were determined with the ADCIRC numerical model, while GIS was used to estimate area flooded, property damages, and population affected. Flooding inundation, property damages, and number of people affected by flooding increases as the intensity of the hurricane increases. As hurricane intensity increases and sea levels rise, the depth of flooding also increases dramatically. Based on two historical hurricanes and one shifted historical hurricane, on average the inundated area increases about 11 km2 per degree Celsius of sea surface temperature rise, the property damages increase by about $110 million per degree Celsius of sea surface temperature rise, and the number of people affected by flooding inundation increases by about 4,900 per degree Celsius of sea surface temperature rise. These results indicate that it may become necessary to consider the effects of climate change when building future coastal communities and adapting the protection of existing communities.
Frey, Ashley E. (2009). The Impact of Climate Change on Hurricane Flooding Inundation, Property Damages, and Population Affected. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from