Coastal changes worsen nuisance flooding on many US shorelines, study finds


High-tide flooding in Norfolk, VA, in April/May 2017. Credit: Tal Ezer, Old Dominion University

Nuisance flooding has elevated on U.S. coasts in current many years resulting from sea degree rise, and new analysis co-authored by the University of Central Florida uncovered a further motive for its added frequency.

In a study showing immediately within the journal Science Advances, researchers present that larger native tide ranges, more than likely from human alterations to coastal areas and estuaries, has elevated the variety of nuisance flooding days in many coastal areas within the U.S.

Coastal nuisance flooding is taken into account to be minor flooding from the seas that causes issues corresponding to flooded roads and overloaded stormwater techniques, which will be main inconveniences for folks and supply habitat for micro organism and mosquitoes.

Changes to native tide vary typically happen in coastal areas and estuaries when channels are dredged, land is reclaimed, improvement happens, or river flows change. This may cause tide ranges, outlined as the peak distinction between excessive tide and low tide, to extend in some areas and reduce in others.

The study discovered that out of the 40 U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tidal gauge areas used within the study that dot the continental U.S. coastlines, almost half had extra nuisance flooding days due to larger native tide ranges.

“It’s the first time that the effects of tidal changes on nuisance flooding were quantified, and the approach is very robust as it is based purely on observational data and covers the entire coastline of the U.S. mainland,” says study co-author Thomas Wahl, an assistant professor in UCF’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering.

Coastal changes worsen nuisance flooding on many US shorelines, study finds
An image of 1 web page that features historic water degree info from the tide gauge of Wilmington from the yr 1910. Credit: Stefan Talke, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

The researchers carried out the study through the use of tidal gauge information at 40 areas alongside the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific coasts spanning not less than 70 years of information. They in contrast water ranges on the areas primarily based on two totally different situations—one by which tidal vary by no means modified and one the place it did.

This allowed them to see how typically nuisance floods occurred or have been prevented over time due to tidal changes.

They discovered that nuisance flooding elevated due to tidal changes in about half the areas, decreased in a fourth of the areas, and was not modified within the remaining quarter of areas.

For instance, in 2019, Cedar Key, Florida, obtained about 23 further nuisance flooding days due to elevated tidal vary, whereas Washington, D.C., had about 52 fewer resulting from decreased tidal vary.

“Seeing how many nuisance flooding events occurred in the past and are happening today simply because of tidal changes should be motivation for us to keep alterations to sensitive estuarine systems at a minimum as to not further exacerbate the problem, which we already face because of sea level rise,” Wahl says. “We should at least be aware of these potentially negative impacts in the planning phase of alteration projects, and it might even be possible to reverse some of the negative impacts from past decisions.”

“While a few individual instances of these minor flooding events do not cause too many impacts, the cumulative impacts of frequent events can become very large,” Wahl says. “Hence, understanding what drives the changes in nuisance flooding is very important.”

The study’s lead writer, Sida Li, is a visiting pupil in UCF’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering and the National Center for Integrated Coastal Research.

Research finds dramatic enhance in flooding on coastal roads

More info:
S. Li el al., “Evolving tides aggravate nuisance flooding along the U.S. coastline,” Science Advances (2021). … .1126/sciadv.abe2412

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University of Central Florida

Coastal changes worsen nuisance flooding on many US shorelines, study finds (2021, March 5)
retrieved 5 March 2021

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