Economic Effects of Storm Surge and Sea Level Rise on US Coasts

by Grace Stewart

Neumann et al. (2015) provide evidence that to properly analyze the risk climate change poses to coastal property, it is necessary to account for the effects of both sea level rise and storm surges. They conducted a study accounting for both of these phenomena in determining the economic damages to coastal regions through the year 2100 by combining three models—a tropical cyclone simulation model, storm surge model, and economic impact and adaptation model. This study seemed particularly relevant due to the recent Hurricane Sandy, which depicted the devastating effects of storm surges to infrastructure and safety of coastal residents. Continue reading

The Value of Wetlands in Protecting Southeast Louisiana from Hurricane Storm Surges

by Andrew Walnum

Wetlands are recognized as important habitats not only for their benefits of maintaining biodiversity, water purification, erosion control, and carbon sequestration, but also their ability to reduce the impacts of storm surges. Hurricanes pose a particular threat coastal areas as can be seen during Katrina and other devastating hurricanes. Wetland restoration in areas along the Gulf Coast seems to be a logical way to help reduce the devastating impacts of surges and floods from ocean storms. However, there has never been a full analysis combining the hydrological and economic impacts of increasing wetland areas along the Gulf Coast. The authors of this study used models to look at the effects of increasing wetlands on property damage in Southeast Louisiana, near New Orleans. Their study finds that an increase in 10% vegetation cover per square meter saves $99-$133 in property damage per unit area and only a 1% increase saves $24-$43. Continue reading