GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 222-10
Presentation Time: 3:45 PM


BENIMOFF, Alan I., Department of Engineering Science and Physics and the Masters Program in Environmental Science, The College of Staten Island/CUNY, 2800 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10314, FRITZ, William J., President, College of Staten Island/CUNY, 2800 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10314 and KRESS, Michael, Professor of Computer Science and Member of the Doctoral Faculty CUNY Graduate Center, College of Staten Island/CUNY, 2800 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10314,

We have been studying hurricane storm surge since 2011 and in 2014 we noted in our Northeastern GSA abstract and presentation: “Throughout history geologists have given warnings and in many cases no one listens”. Furthermore, we cited the GSA Position Statement Draft in GSA Today, June 2013: “Geoscientists have a professional responsibility to inform government, the private sector, and the public about coastal hazards and the risks they pose, thereby encouraging and supporting responsible and sustainable policies and actions.” With an interdisciplinary approach, decision makers on the local, regional and nation scale have joined forces to prepare for future storm surges and rising sea level. In this process it was important to include scholars from various disciplines (e.g. creative writing, sociology, psychology, economics), elected officials (city, state, and national), community leaders, urban planners, offices of emergency management, public transportation leaders. We cannot emphasize enough that to effect change in public perception of natural disasters, geologists cannot speak alone. Change requires an interdisciplinary voice. Hurricane Sandy resulted in 23 fatalities on Staten Island and millions of dollars in property damage. We used GIS and ADCIRC in modeling the effects of hurricane storm surge on a Cray XE6tm super computer in the College’s Interdisciplinary High Performance Computer Center. In 2013 we held an interdisciplinary forum ( in which we brought together community experts and stake holders to deal with a number of aspects of storm surge and flooding. In addition to the geologic issues we also dealt with issues such as the human impact, the economic and political aspects and the need for more education. A key regional activity was the formation of the governor’s task force for storm recovery where we presented our hurricane storm research. Recently, we received a grant from the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery titled “Go To High Ground” in which we are modeling evacuation strategies for automobiles. In this study we are collaborating with the NYC office of emergency management and as a result of this collaboration the evacuation signage has been changed on Staten Island. We hope that other geologists can learn from our experience.