Modeling Waves and Coastal Flooding along the Connecticut Coast

Thursday, 17 December 2015: 14:32
103 (Moscone South)
Alejandro Cifuentes-Lorenzen1, Mary M Howard-Strobel1, Todd Fake1, Grant McCardell1, James O'Donnell2 and Marina Asthita3, (1)University of Connecticut, Marine Sciences, Groton, CT, United States, (2)University of Connecticut, Groton, CT, United States, (3)University of Connecticut, Engineering, Storrs, CT, United States
We have used a hydrodynamic- wave coupled numerical model (FVCOM-SWAVE) to simulate flooding at the Connecticut coastline during severe storms. The model employed a one-way nesting scheme and an unstructured grid. The parent domain spanned most of the southern New England shelf and the fine resolution grid covered Long Island Sound (LIS) and extended across the Connecticut coast to the 10m elevation contour. The model results for sea level, current and wave statistics from the parent grid have been tested with data from several field campaigns at different locations spanning the western, central and eastern portions of LIS. Waves are fetch limited and improvements to the model-data comparison required modifications to spectral coefficients in the wave model. Finally, the nested results were validated with two field campaigns in shallow water environments (i.e. New Haven and Old Saybrook). To assess the spatial variability of storm wave characteristics the domain was forced with the hindcast winds obtained from meteorological models (NAM and WRF) for 13 severe weather events that affected LIS in the past 15 years. We have also forced the system with a simulation of Superstorm Sandy in a warmer climate to assess the impact a climate change on the character of flooding. The nested grid is currently being used to map flooding risks under severe weather events including the effects of precipitation on river flow and discharge.