How to Calculate the Coastal Flooding Indicator
To calculate the Coastal Flooding indicator, scientists analyzed data from tide gauges in coastal areas of the United States. These devices measure the level of water continuously and are particularly effective in detecting coastal flooding and tracking long-term relative sea level rise. The indicator tracks the number of days each year when a site’s tides reach or exceed the local threshold for flooding.
These indicators are helpful for planning and mitigation measures because they can provide information about future flooding. The data in this indicator is based on a standardized methodology for measuring coastal flooding and sea level rise. Because they are created using national data sets and consistent analyses, they can be interpreted at several scales, which help to prioritize actions to protect communities from flooding.
The spatial zones used to calculate the Coastal Flooding indicator are derived using a statistical approach that accounts for typical fluctuations in the tides. This allows scientists to calculate the flood thresholds for any location along the coast. However, these thresholds do not necessarily correspond to specific levels of disruption because every city’s land cover, topography, infrastructure, and flood defenses vary.
Coastal flooding is a serious issue that affects public infrastructure and human health. As sea level rises, more flooding events are expected to occur. This may cause road closures, reduced stormwater drainage capacity, and even the introduction of saltwater into drinking water. It may also cause exposure to harmful chemicals and pathogens, which are not beneficial for human health.