Sep 09, 2020

University of Central Florida Research Tackles Predicting Storm Surges

New research from the University of Central Florida aims to predict storm surges.

 

storm surge

A recent study has been published, in which researchers developed models to predict extreme changes in sea level.

This was done by linking storm surges to large-scale climate variability related to changes in atmospheric pressure and sea surface temperature, according to Science Daily. An example is El Niño, which is a periodic warming of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean between Asia and South America that can affect weather around the globe.

The researchers linked large-scale climate variability events to variability in storm surge activity, testing the models by having them predict past storm surge variability and then comparing their predictions with what actually happened.

According to the results, the models matched the overall trends and variability of storm surge indicators for almost all coastal regions of the U.S, during both the tropical and extratropical storm seasons, reported Science Daily.

For Florida, the models reflect the difference in the variability of storm surge on the west coast compared to the east, Wahl says.

"If we were capable to predict in advance when we go through periods of relatively higher flood risk, that would be very useful information to have, for example in order to make available and deploy resources way in advance," said Mamunur Rashid, the study's lead author and a postdoctoral research associate in UCF's Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering.

According to Rashid, the team’s analysis is only the first step, but they are not at the point yet where a modeling framework can be used in an operational way or for making important decisions based on the results.

The study received support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Program Office, Climate Observations and Monitoring Program.

According to Science Daily, this study builds on previous research that showed storm surge is a major factor in extreme sea level variability.

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