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The Value of Coastal Wetlands for Flood Damage Reduction

campfire homes

AI and supercomputing are rapidly shifting the way disaster planners, regulators and insurers gauge climate hazards Aerial view of homes destroyed by the Camp Fire on February 11, 2019 in Paradise, California. Credit: Justin Sullivan Getty Images Full story: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/tech-offers-a-virtual-window-into-future-climate-change-risk/

Hurricane Season Has Started Early Four Years in a Row. Is That Unusual?

The Atlantic hurricane season technically runs from June through November, but there’s “nothing magical” about those dates and named storms don’t always play along.  At least one named storm has jumped the gun and developed before June each of the past four hurricane seasons, some of which had impacts in the U.S. and elsewhere in the Atlantic Basin.

Tropical Storm Alberto made a Memorial Day landfall along the Florida Panhandle last year, then remained intact, taking a strange May track into Lower Michigan before losing its tropical characteristics.  In 2017, Arlene came even earlier than Alberto, becoming only the second April Atlantic tropical storm of record.

Tropical Storm Bonnie soaked the coast of the Carolinas in late May 2016, but the weirdest part of the 2016 season was east Atlantic Hurricane Alex, only the second known January Atlantic hurricane. Alex eventually made landfall in The Azores as a tropical storm…

 

The Value of Coastal Wetlands for Flood Damage Reduction in the Northeastern USA

As exposure to coastal hazards increases there is growing interest in nature-based solutions for risk reduction. This study uses high-resolution flood and loss models to quantify the impacts of coastal wetlands in the northeastern USA on (i) regional flood damages by Hurricane Sandy and (ii) local annual flood losses in Barnegat Bay in Ocean County, New Jersey. Using an extensive database of property exposure, the regional study shows that wetlands avoided $625 Million in direct flood damages during Hurricane Sandy. The local study combines these models with a database of synthetic storms in Ocean County and estimates a 16% average reduction in annual flood losses by salt marshes with higher reductions at lower elevations. Together, the studies quantify the risk reduction ecosystem services of marsh wetlands. Measuring these benefits in collaboration with the risk modelling industry is crucial for assessing risk accurately and, where appropriate, aligning conservation and risk reduction goals…

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