OSU Develops Methodology to Determine Coastal Flooding Risk

Siletz River estuary, Photo courtesy Oregon Conservation Strategy

Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a new methodology for building computer models that paves the way to better understanding the flood risks faced by coastal communities.

That’s important because towns along the coast are often situated near estuaries, which makes them vulnerable to both storm tide inundation and river flooding.

Estuaries occur where rivers flow into the ocean, meaning the rivers are influenced by tidal flooding and also experience frequent, periodic changes in salinity, sunlight and oxygen.

The study site for this research was Washington state’s Grays Harbor, but the methodology can be applied to any area subject to estuarine flooding.

“Flooding in areas like the Pacific Northwest is complicated since many processes contribute, such as tides, large waves and river flow,” said Kai Parker, corresponding author of the study published in Coastal Engineering. “We need to be able to predict water levels on several time scales.”

Grays Harbor, Photo courtesy Earthjustice

The new computer model involves “emulation” and uses statistical techniques, as opposed to traditional models that try to directly reproduce the wide collection of physical processes at play when estuaries flood.

The emulator performed well reproducing the extreme water levels of recent flooding events in Grays Harbor, Parker said.

Roughly 140 miles northwest of Portland, Oregon, Grays Harbor is a shallow bay – average depth: roughly 5 meters – with a deep-water navigation channel maintained by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Grays Harbor covers 235 square kilometers, is fed by five rivers that drain a watershed of greater than 7,000 square kilometers and is “subject to an energetic storm and wave climate,” Parker said, providing a solid test for the model.

“Our model is very useful since we can use it to explore an infinite variety of future flooding scenarios,” Parker said. “This allows us to better understand the risk of flooding in coastal communities as well as how this risk will change moving into the future.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration supported this research, as did the Quinault Treaty Area tribal governments.

Share this article

Follow Dredging Today

Events>

<< May 2019 >>
MTWTFSS
29 30 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 1 2

Eastern Chapter WEDA Fall 2019 Conference

Wednesday (10/16/19) afternoon will start the program with an opportunity to take the Dredging 101 course.

read more >

IADC SEMINAR ON DREDGING AND RECLAMATION IN DELFT

This five-day course strives to provide an understanding through lectures by experts in the field and workshops…

read more >

10th Dredging & Land Reclamation Summit 2019

The 10th Dredging & Land Reclamation World between 15-18 July 2019 in London is aimed at resolving…

read more >

Australasian Coasts and Ports 2019

Conference Theme “Future directions from 40°S and beyond” reflects the increasing awareness about the need to find suitable…

read more >

Jobs>

Dredging jobs in Abu Dhabi at NMDC

National Marine Dredging Company “NMDC” aims to be the largest dredging player in the Arab’s Gulf region...

apply

Looking to fill a job opening?

By advertising your job here, on the homepage of DredgingToday.com, you'll reach countless professionals in the sector. For more information, click below....

apply

Looking to fill a job opening?

By advertising your job here, on the homepage of DredgingToday.com, you'll reach countless professionals in the sector. For more information, click below...

apply