Hsu, Chih-Hung (2014-08). Hurricane Surge Flooding Damage Assessment and Web-Based Game Development to Support K12 Education for Understanding Climate Change Impact on Hurricane Surge Flooding Damage. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • Hurricane surge floods have caused devastating damage along coastal areas all over the world. Yet many recent studies have shown that global warming could increase the hurricane flooding damage by hurricane intensification and sea level rise. Hence, the ability to predict surge elevations and to use this information for damage estimation is fundamental for saving lives and protecting property. In this study, we developed a framework that allows one to acquire information of hurricane flooding damage (e.g. structural damage, population being affected, flooded area, etc.) for different hurricanes. This framework is based on Surge Response Functions (SRFs). SRFs are physical scaling laws derived from a suite of discrete ADvanced CIRCulation Model (ADCIRC) simulations and represent surge values as a function of hurricane parameters. The advantage of this SRF-based approach is that a large number of storms can be efficiently evaluated and considered in the analysis, without losing accuracy in the surge estimates. To extrapolate the surge water elevation inland, SRF zones were defined within which the water elevation was considered horizontal. Individual parcel flood damage was calculated based on the flood water depth and damage vs. water depth curves included in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) application HAZUS. Parcel data (property value, population) and business data (employee size, and sales volume) are collected and used to conduct risk analysis under different future climate scenarios. Expected changes for future climate scenarios (i.e., IPCC scenarios B1, A1B and A1FI for the 2030's and 2080's) were considered by accounting for projected sea surface temperature increases and sea level rise, which modify the probability distribution of hurricane central pressure and change the baseline of damage calculation, respectively. Flood risk estimates and maps are developed for Corpus Christi in Texas, and Gulfport in Mississippi. For the case of Corpus Christi, it was found that, as the projected sea surface temperature increased, higher surge values are more likely to occur, as expected, resulting in higher expected damage. The risk map of Port Aransas in the Corpus Christi area, for example, shows that the risk is in the range of 1% to 4% of the property value for current climate conditions, and shifts to 1% to 8% for the 2030's and 1% to 14% for the 2080's. The concept of the parameterized hurricane damage analysis is also used to construct a web-based game "VisHurricane" which is intent to be used as an educational tool for K-12 students to arise their attention of current issues on climate change and potential future hurricane surge flooding risk.

publication date

  • August 2014