Collaborative Research: The Physics and Statistics of Global Sea Level Change (Atmospheric and Environmental Research Inc)
By combining diverse datasets as well as scientific and engineering models, researchers are beginning to quantify how future tropical storm surges may impact U.S. coastal property. The research uses past patterns in coastal sea-level change and projects the risk to the coasts if these trends continue over the next couple of decades.
Storm surges can have a devastating impact on the resilience of our coastal communities and pose tremendous risks to large U.S. coastal cities. Quantitative information on future coastal property risks is vital to owners and insurers alike, as well as to state and local governments and broader U.S. economic and security interests.
The estimated increases in property risk from tropical storm surge demonstrate how vulnerable coastal property is to a rise in sea level. In one aspect of their work, researchers from Atmospheric and Environmental Research Inc. determined the risk for the Florida coast. Increases in expected losses due to rising sea levels vary by region, but increases of 20 percent or more were predicted. Areas around Tampa Bay could be especially impacted.
These results are based on a simple extrapolation of past coastal sea-level trends to 2030. However, future behavior of coastal sea levels could differ. Changes in other factors such as building codes, property values and coastal management were not considered in the analysis but may be significant variables. Future analyses can incorporate these and other factors for a more comprehensive examination of coastal property risk under the prospects of a continued rise in sea level.
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