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Surrogate modeling of joint flood risk across coastal watersheds

Bass, Benjamin, Bedient, Philip
Journal of hydrology 2018 v.558 pp. 159-173
hurricanes, hydrologic models, physics, prediction, probabilistic risk assessment, risk, runoff, statistical models, watersheds
This study discusses the development and performance of a rapid prediction system capable of representing the joint rainfall-runoff and storm surge flood response of tropical cyclones (TCs) for probabilistic risk analysis. Due to the computational demand required for accurately representing storm surge with the high-fidelity ADvanced CIRCulation (ADCIRC) hydrodynamic model and its coupling with additional numerical models to represent rainfall-runoff, a surrogate or statistical model was trained to represent the relationship between hurricane wind- and pressure-field characteristics and their peak joint flood response typically determined from physics based numerical models. This builds upon past studies that have only evaluated surrogate models for predicting peak surge, and provides the first system capable of probabilistically representing joint flood levels from TCs. The utility of this joint flood prediction system is then demonstrated by improving upon probabilistic TC flood risk products, which currently account for storm surge but do not take into account TC associated rainfall-runoff. Results demonstrate the source apportionment of rainfall-runoff versus storm surge and highlight that slight increases in flood risk levels may occur due to the interaction between rainfall-runoff and storm surge as compared to the Federal Emergency Management Association’s (FEMAs) current practices.