University of Oulu

Anderson, T., Fletcher, C., Barbee, M., Romine, B., Lemmo, S., Delevaux, J. (2018) Modeling multiple sea level rise stresses reveals up to twice the land at risk compared to strictly passive flooding methods. Scientific Reports, 8 (1), 14484. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-32658-x

Modeling multiple sea level rise stresses reveals up to twice the land at risk compared to strictly passive flooding methods

Saved in:
Author: Anderson, Tiffany R.1; Fletcher, Charles H.1; Barbee, Matthew M.1,2;
Organizations: 1University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Department of Geology and Geophysics, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
2Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu
3University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program
4Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources, Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-11-15


Planning community resilience to sea level rise (SLR) requires information about where, when, and how SLR hazards will impact the coastal zone. We augment passive flood mapping (the so-called “bathtub” approach) by simulating physical processes posing recurrent threats to coastal infrastructure, communities, and ecosystems in Hawai‘i (including tidally-forced direct marine and groundwater flooding, seasonal wave inundation, and chronic coastal erosion). We find that the “bathtub” approach, alone, ignores 35–54 percent of the total land area exposed to one or more of these hazards, depending on location and SLR scenario. We conclude that modeling dynamic processes, including waves and erosion, is essential to robust SLR vulnerability assessment. Results also indicate that as sea level rises, coastal lands are exposed to higher flood depths and water velocities. The prevalence of low-lying coastal plains leads to a rapid increase in land exposure to hazards when sea level exceeds a critical elevation of ~0.3 or 0.6 m, depending on location. At ~1 m of SLR, land that is roughly seven times the total modern beach area is exposed to one or more hazards. Projected increases in extent, magnitude, and rate of persistent SLR impacts suggest an urgency to engage in long-term planning immediately.

see all

Series: Scientific reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
ISSN-E: 2045-2322
ISSN-L: 2045-2322
Volume: 8
Issue: 1
Article number: 14484
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-32658-x
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1171 Geosciences
1172 Environmental sciences
Funding: This work was supported by the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, the H.K.L. Castle Foundation, the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, the Honolulu Office of Climate Change Sustainability and Resiliency, the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, the County of Kaua‘i, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, and the University of Hawai‘i high performance-computing cluster.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2018. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit