Storm Tide Amplification and Habitat Changes due to Urbanization of a Lagoonal Estuary [post]

Philip M. Orton, Eric W. Sanderson, Stefan A. Talke, Mario Giampieri, Kytt MacManus
2020 unpublished
<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> In recent centuries, human activities have greatly modified the geomorphology of coastal regions. However, studies of historical and possible future changes in coastal flood extremes typically ignore the influence of geomorphic change. Here, we quantify the influence of 20<sup>th</sup> Century manmade changes to Jamaica Bay, New York City, on present-day storm tides. We develop and validate a hydrodynamic model for the 1870s, based on
more » ... he 1870s, based on detailed maps of bathymetry, seabed characteristics, topography, and tide observations, for use alongside a present-day model. Predominantly through dredging, landfill, and inlet stabilization, the average water depth of the bay increased from 1.7 to 4.5 m, tidal surface area decreased from 92 to 72 km<sup>2</sup>, and the inlet minimum cross-sectional area expanded from 4800 to 8900 m<sup>2</sup>. Total (freshwater plus salt) marsh habitat area has declined from 61 to 15 km<sup>2</sup> and intertidal unvegetated habitat area from 17 to 4.6 km<sup>2</sup>. A probabilistic flood hazard assessment with simulations of 144 storm events reveals that the landscape changes caused an increase of 0.28 m (12 %) in the 100-year storm tide, even larger than the influence of global sea level rise of about 0.23 m since the 1870s. Specific anthropogenic changes to estuary depth, area and inlet depth and width are shown through targeted modeling and dynamics-based considerations to be the most important drivers of increasing storm tides.</p>
doi:10.5194/nhess-2019-343 fatcat:wo6wguifubf6jmpbffgxrh54hu