117-3 Adapting HAZUS-MH to Assess Sea Level Rise

Sunday, 5 October 2008: 8:30 AM
George R. Brown Convention Center, 310BE
Norman S. Levine1, Charlie C. Kaufman1, Michael Sutherland2 and Ludivine Renaud2, (1)Geology and Environmental Geosciences, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC
(2)Master in Environmental Studies, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC
Understanding the impact of sea level rise along the Unites States Coastline is essential to planning and hazards mitigation. The IPCC report (2007) estimates that thermal expansion can account for up 0.3m to 0.6m of sea level rise. Currently, there are no dedicated models designed to look the scale of flooding associated with this simple form of sea level rise. Inundation models are models where the level of sea level rise on the coast is plotted based on the elevation. Simple inundation models, referred to as bathtub models, create flood area footprints that can be used in the assessment of damage in low lying areas. Although inundation models do not take into account the dynamics of the coastal environment, (i.e. waves, tides, estuaries, and wetlands), these models are good tools for planners to approximate of the magnitude of potential flooding.

The flood analysis portion of the HAZUS-MH system can incorporate coastal flooding and riverine flooding both models generate flood footprints that are used to calculate the economic, social, and infrastructure impacts. The flood footprints from the inundation models can be substituted in HAZUS-MH and the impacts can be calculated based on the new inundation information. This study looks at the impact of sea level rise along several sites along the South Carolina Coastline. The incorporation of the inundation information with the HAZUS-MH could be a useful tool for regional planning agencies to help prepare for and better understand the consequences of sea level rise at the local level.