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Fifth National Climate Assessment - Read the Report

Understanding coastal hazards

The aftermath of a category 4 hurricane, Mexico Beach, FL. Credit: K.C. Wilsey/FEMA.

A modeling framework provides insight on future coastal flooding risks to guide resilience efforts.

Sea level rise and other climate-related changes are increasing risks from the impacts of storms on coastal communities, infrastructure, and ecosystems. To support efforts to build resilience to climate variability and change, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center-Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (ERDC-CHL) developed the Coastal Hazards System (CHS) as a framework to quantify risks from coastal hazards and flooding events caused by hurricanes and other extreme storms that can be expected to occur in the future.1

The CHS provides information on risks from coastal hazards, such as expected storm surge along coastal Louisiana from a 100-year storm, based on high-resolution modeling of coastal storm dynamics. Currently, the CHS covers all U.S. hurricane-prone coastlines along the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic seaboard, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as regions affected only by extratropical storms, such as the Great Lakes.

The CHS includes a database and web-based data repository and visualization system available to the public. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, FEMA, the USGS, state and local governments, private industry, and academia, and others use CHS to develop long-term strategies to enhance resiliency and increase sustainability in high-risk coastal communities and natural ecosystems.

1 Nadal-Caraballo, N.C.; Campbell, M.O.; Gonzalez, V.M.; Torres, M.J.; Melby, J.A., and Taflanidis, A.A., 2020. Coastal Hazards System: A Probabilistic Coastal Hazard Analysis Framework. In: Malvárez, G. and Navas, F. (eds.), Global Coastal Issues of 2020. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 95, pp. 1211-1216. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.