The Northeastern U.S. urban corridor of New York City, Philadelphia and Boston is threatened today by coastal storms, and climate change is likely to increase this threat due to predicted changes such as sea level rise. Aproject is outlined here that would merge the most successful existing tools for predicting coastal storm winds and storm surges and their evolution in a changing climate. A combination of stochastic and deterministic models, ranging from highly simplified to highly detailed, will be utilized. Results from several global climate models will be utilized to produce multi-model best estimates (including uncertainty ranges) of the impact of climate change on sea level, storm frequency and storm intensity. The primary objective of the project is to produce probabilistic risk assessment for each city in the present, the 2050s and the 2080s, using stakeholder-defined metrics for urban watersheds. Major innovations beyond other prior studies include a) the use of a highly detailed, extensively validated ocean model, alongside a simplified model, to provide probabilistic, yet accurate forecasts; and b) use of a framework that includes both tropical and extra-tropical storms.
Investigators: Alan Blumberg, Julie Pullen, Radley Horton, Vivien Gornitz, Philip Orton, Nickitas Georgas, Timothy Hall