Assessing the direct economic costs of sea level rise and storm tide damage in coastal communities using tide gauge data and depth-damage functions
12:00 - 13:30
Sea levels are rising as a result of climate change and thereby amplifying the risk of tidal and storm flooding in coastal communities. Flooding is problematic, leading to many types of damages, particularly destruction or degradation of property due to contact with floodwater. The increasing vulnerability of coastal property to permanent inundation and temporary flooding raises concerns about the potential economic losses in coastal communities. Recent literature on the impacts of climate change identifies the economic risks in coastal areas as an important knowledge gap; detailed estimates of economic costs at the local level are limited. While previous studies have often focused on a wider scale and have largely ignored the role of tides in damage estimates, this study develops a spatially detailed model of coastal damage with tides, storms, and sea level rise to evaluate the direct economic costs of coastal flooding from sea level rise and storm tide, taking into account local complexities and subtleties in fine detail. Coastal flooding depth-damage functions are employed to assess flood damages. High-resolution topographic data provides the accurate elevation data necessary to determine which properties will be affected under different flood scenarios. Tide gauge data is used to incorporate tides into sea level rise damage estimates, and consider storm damage in a probabilistic framework. These insights are applied to project sea level rise losses, storm damages, and future storm damages with sea level rise in Milford, Connecticut, to demonstrate that they are both useable and feasible.