IWA Publishing

Tools for assessing sea level rise vulnerability

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Increasing sea level has the potential to place important infrastructure we rely on every day at risk, yet we lack good data to make decisions on what to do, when, and with what priority. The objectives of the research were to develop a method for estimating the time scales for various increments of sea level rise (SLR) throughout the 21st century, develop an accurate methodology for predicting impacts of SLR at the local level, and develop recommendations as to how existing data sources can be utilized to identify infrastructure vulnerable to SLR. The methodology was applied to southeast Florida using data from the Florida Department of Transportation, the United States Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other sources, integrated with low resolution light detection and ranging data, topographic data, and aerial photographic maps to identify potentially vulnerable infrastructure. Overlaying high resolution light detection and ranging data onto a base map enabled creation of mapping tools to evaluate potentially vulnerable infrastructure. Using these recommendations, a protocol was developed to use groundwater adjusted models in southeast Florida which indicated potential underestimation of the risk of damage to public infrastructure and private and public buildings.

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