Northeastern Section - 54th Annual Meeting - 2019

Paper No. 43-2
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


ANDERSON, Hannah, LAURIE, Isabella, WIEBE, Miranda and HAY, Carling C., Earth and Environmental Sciences, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

The United States East Coast has experienced an increasing number of large storm events with high levels of precipitation, which detrimentally result in large scale flooding in both coastal and river areas. Due to the threat of sea-level rise, many cities have discovered a need to create new flood maps to determine at risk areas. The majority of current flood maps focus either on river flooding or coastal flooding separately, but do not combine the two analyses. In addition, rising sea levels combined with increased outflow from rivers can lead to significant coastal flooding. This study examines how river and coastal flooding events are connected by correlating past river discharge rate data and sea level data. We hypothesize that within the two regions of Boston, MA and Atlantic City, NJ, there is 1) a positive correlation between river and coastal flooding and that this relationship’s significance has increased over time, and 2) that river and coastal flooding correlations decrease as both the distance between the river and tide gauges increases and as the elevation of river gauges increases. We find that in the past ten years, the frequency with which flooding occurs on both river banks and coasts has increased due to the combination of sea-level rise and increased number of large storms. River and coastal flooding events can lead to heavy economic and land losses that affect the dense and ever-increasing population of people who live in these communities (Jongman et al., 2012). We also explore the implications for populations located in the flooding zones of river and coastal areas from our findings.